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Closed call 2021-12-01: Demonstrator projects

This is a call for Demonstrator projects – projects that can demonstrate and disseminate technologies for digital transformation and its impact on society. Projects are expected to show novelty, high impact, and wide outreach. Eligible researchers at KTH schools, Stockholm University (SU), and RISE Digital Systems are encouraged to apply.

Important dates:

Call opens: 2021-11-01
Matchmaking event: 2021-10-14 (see below for time and registration)
Project proposal registration: 
Call closes: 2021-12-01
Phase 2 evaluation hearing: late January/early February 2022

The funding decision is expected by February/March 2022.

The figure below shows the Digital Futures process for evaluation and decision:


Digital Futures is a cross-disciplinary research centre that explores and develops digital technologies. We bring solutions to great societal challenges, in Sweden and globally. We generate knowledge, innovations, and future leaders of high industrial relevance and strategic importance. Digital Futures is jointly established by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University, and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. Digital Futures awards funding to strategic research projects to support a specific action or project that furthers the vision of Digital Futures. Find out more about Digital Futures background here.

Purpose and Eligibility

Digital Futures targets several KPIs, societal outreach being one of the core KPIs. Societal outreach entails contributions to the public (political) discourse, public lectures, consulting to public agencies and institutions, presence in print and in social media. Demonstrator projects are the main instrument of Digital Futures to foster this KPI. The purpose of these projects is to demonstrate and disseminate technologies for digital transformation and show their impact and potential in society. The results are expected to be disseminated in high-impact venues with wide reach, such as national television, press, or more specialist venues with international reach.

Demonstrator projects are also expected to contribute to industrial transfer as a secondary KPI. Industrial transfer as KPI materializes for instance in terms of follow-up transfer grants (on national and European level, impact on industrial research and development, patents, standardization and/or open-source contributions, as well as industrial-academic mobility.

The output of these projects could include

  1. Prototype software systems (preferably open source), demonstrators, and digital services
  2. Development of an artifact for experimental evaluation and demonstration of research, including physical prototypes and demonstrators for public use
  3. Integration of novel algorithms and methods from research into a testbed or real system within the industry or public sector
  4. An evaluation or study of the impact of novel digital technologies

The projects should

  1. Demonstrate technologies with significant potential societal impact
  2. Demonstrate the results in at least one high-impact event at the end of the project and provide a preliminary demonstration after one year
  3. Involve researchers, competencies, data, and resources that enable interdisciplinary research and demonstrations.

We strongly encourage projects to collaborate with external partners and testbeds and expect all projects to be able to display results at Digital Future events and at the centre.

To encourage interdisciplinarity and collaboration, each project should list two (2) PIs (principal investigators) of complementary backgrounds. The researchers should belong to either i) two different KTH schools, ii) KTH school and RISE[1]/Stockholm University, or iii) RISE[1] and Stockholm University.

To be eligible, a PI needs to be an Assistant Professor, an Associate Professor, a Full Professor, or a permanent full-time Researcher (“tillsvidareanställning”, 80% employment or more with a PhD degree) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University or RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. The PIs do not need to be Digital Futures faculty when applying but will become Digital Futures faculty if the project is granted.

[1] Researchers employed by RISE Digital Systems Division in the Stockholm area are eligible to apply.

Project duration and maximum funding

In this call, up to five projects are intended to be selected. The duration of the project is two years. The projects will be funded with a maximum of 2 MSEK in total (1 MSEK per project year). Please note that the amount applied must not exceed the maximum funding for a project in this call. The budget must be split between the PIs in even multiples of 100 KSEK with a minimum of 300 KSEK per PI for each project year, with the same budget split both years.

Please note the Digital Futures funding policy

Researchers can be involved in several projects under different instruments, but within Digital Futures, the funding per PI is limited to 1 MSEK/year. Hence, funding that you may have received under the current Digital Futures instruments Collaborative Research Projects, Research Pairs, Demonstrator Projects, and Collaborative projects targeting Diversity and Inclusion, will be taken into consideration. Digital Futures Postdoctoral Fellows projects or Digital Transformation Institute projects are not taken into account.

Research focus

The projects should address cutting-edge research within Technologies for a digital transformation and should involve researchers that complement each other and conduct interdisciplinary research. The proposals shall address subject areas at an intersection of the Digital Futures Research matrix illustrated below. More information about the research matrix can be found here.

The three research themes Trust, Cooperate and Learn cut across the four contexts Smart society, Digitalized industry, Rich and healthy life, and Educational Transformation.

Digital Futures Strategic Research Programme. The three research themes Trust, Cooperate and Learn cut across the three societal contexts Smart society, Digitized industry and Rich and healthy life.

How to apply

  1. Fill in the application according to the project description template: Project description template – Demo call 2021_10_18
  2. Create an account on the application submission system and register the application stating the title, PIs and a short abstract by the registration date (see at top) at this link:
  3. Complete the application including uploading the project description to the submission system before the call deadline (see at top) using the same link as in step 2.


The project proposals will be evaluated by an external international expert panel. The evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Potential for societal outreach as well as industrial transfer: Degree of novelty with respect to KPI, KPI impact potential, scientific interest.
  2. Feasibility: Project plan, including access to data, testbeds, and other infrastructure necessary to complete the project as well as the composition of the proposed research group and external collaboration partners.
  3. Dissemination and outreach plan: Scope, audience, and visibility of the demonstration event(s) or method.
  4. Conformity to the scope of Digital Futures and eligibility: Project proposal fit to research matrix, degree of interdisciplinary of the demonstrator proposed, and the team composition.

The evaluation will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the evaluators independently grade the project proposals according to the criteria. Based on the outcome, the top proposals will be invited to the phase 2 hearing, where the applicants present their projects and answer questions by the evaluation panel. After the hearing, the panel finalises its ranking and recommends a set of projects for funding.

Based on the evaluation and available funding, the DF Executive committee compiles a funding proposal on how many of the top project proposals to fund. The funding proposal is then sent to the DF Governing board and the KTH Rector for decisions in that order.

Matchmaking event

Digital Futures will host a Matchmaking online event open to all potential project applicants, to help with the creation of the proposal, on 14 October at 14.00-16.00 CEST.
Applicants are given the opportunity to pitch project ideas, find co-applicants, ask questions, and get feedback.


Contact for further questions Please include “Demonstrator projects 2021” in the subject of your email.