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Closed call 2021-10-20: Partner Innovation Projects

This is the first call for Partner Innovation Projects (PIP) within Digital Futures.

Important dates:

Call opens: 2021-09-27
Call closes: 
Decision on Partner Innovation Projects:
Beginning of December 2021
Expected Start of Projects: Beginning of January 2021


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.

Current already established funding schemes under Digital Futures with either ongoing projects or active calls relate to Collaborative Projects, Research Pairs, postdoc funding as well as Demonstrator Projects. Societal Innovation Projects and Partner Innovation Projects are the next funding scheme to be put in place. These projects should serve as a seed to accelerate the collaborative research efforts between partners and to significantly increase the success rate for attracting funding from Swedish and European funding agencies. Researchers at KTH and Stockholm University (SU) are encouraged to be active in the formation of these projects.


Partner Innovation Projects are one of the main instruments within the Industrial and Societal Partnership Program (ISPP) of Digital Futures to foster research collaboration and industrial impact. The ISPP is intended to grow into a network of industrial companies as well as public entities primarily located in the Stockholm region, which have a strategic interest in technologies for digital transformation. The main goals of the ISPP are to (I) position Stockholm as a leading area in the field of digitalization, (II) to identify trends, challenges, and opportunities related to digitalization for different players (private companies, public authorities), and (III) to foster the creation of novel and innovate project consortia that can address challenges and grow into larger consortia and initiatives. Thus, a major part of the industrial and societal impact and dissemination of Digital Futures is intended to take place through the ISPP.


Partner Innovation Project proposals are welcome in all areas of digital transformation (represented by the Digital Futures research matrix, see below figure). Preparatory workshops held during the first half of 2021 and leading up to this call have suggested that interesting areas for collaborations include the following areas:

  • Digital Infrastructures for industrial applications: Reliable, resilient, and always available
  • Digital and programmable world: Real-time digital twins, cyber-physical security
  • Smart Manufacturing and Construction: Flexible automation and circular economy
  • Energy efficiency and electrification: ICT-CO2 footprint, visualizing sustainability achievements.
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.

Project funding and Eligibility

In this call, up to 6 Partner Innovation Projects are to be selected. Partner Innovation Projects can be one-, two- or three-year projects and should preferably feature the collaboration of multiple academic partners and one, or multiple, industrial partners. New collaboration constellations are desirable for a project proposal, but not a necessary condition.

Each successful project can be provided up to 1.5 MSEK/year in terms of Digital Futures cash co-funding. An important eligibility criterion is the provisioning of an equal funding amount through industry, matching (in the aggregate, i.e., summing all industrial cash contributions) the requested Digital Futures funds in the project. Note that in-kind contributions of industrial partners will not count as matching funds when requesting Digital Futures cash funding, but additional in-kind contributions can strengthen a project proposal. Industrial (cash and in-kind) funding provided to the project needs to be clearly outlined in the project application through a Letter of Intent.

Researchers who have one of the following positions at KTH schools or Stockholm University are eligible to apply for Digital Futures funding through this call.

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Full Professor
  • Permanent full-time Researcher

In all cases, the researcher must hold a permanent position, 80% employment or more with a PhD degree The PIs do not need to be Digital Futures faculty when applying but will become Digital Futures faculty if the project is granted.

Adjunct professors are encouraged to participate in projects, but are not eligible to apply for Digital Futures funding.

Finally, those academic researchers who have been already funded by Digital Futures on the level of 1 MSEK/year are not eligible to apply for Digital Futures funding through Partner Innovation Projects.[1]

[1] 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.


Partner Innovation Project proposals are evaluated in two steps. They are evaluated in step 1 by external evaluators, who review proposals according to the criteria:

  1. Potential for research advancement and impact measured through
    • Industrial transfer
    • Scientific excellence
    • Societal outreach
  2. Feasibility of the proposed project plan
  3. Relevant qualification of the project consortium

In step 2, the panel feedback from step 1 will be evaluated by the Digital Futures Industrial Committee to prepare the decision by the Digital Futures Industrial and Societal Board, which will be followed by a Governing Board decision on Digital Futures cash co-funding.

How to apply


Contact for further questions.