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Closed call 2022-06-13: Societal Innovation Projects

This is the second call for Societal Innovation Projects within Digital Futures.


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 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 and Industrial Innovation Projects (formerly known as Partner Innovation Projects) have been launched in 2021, and this is the second call for such projects. SIPs are an evolution of the former Digital Demo Stockholm (DDS) project activities. Digital Demo Stockholm has been an initiative between KTH, SU, KI, industry and public stakeholders since 2016. In 2021, Digital Demo Stockholm has become part of Digital Futures in the form of the Societal Committee under the Industrial and Societal Partnership Programme (ISPP) and therefore project activities will also be run under Digital Futures. KTH schools and Platforms, Stockholm University (SU) and RISE are encouraged to be active in the formation of these SIPS.

Important dates

  • Call opens: 11 March 2022
  • Proposal Submission Deadlines: 3 April 2022, 13 June 2022
  • Expected decision on Projects: 6-8 weeks after the submission deadline
  • Expected Start of Projects: 1 July 2022 or 1 January 2023


One ambition of Digital Futures is to generate societal impact, and here with the focus on the broader area of Stockholm, to work together with public actors like the City of Stockholm, as well as Region Stockholm (both are members of the Digital Futures ISPP). Due to the role of these (and other) public actors, innovation through digital transformation comes with a different set of opportunities (scale being an important one), while also involving different challenges. Societal Innovation Projects are the project form in Digital Futures that address this special constellation and the corresponding needs.

Successful Societal Innovation Projects will bring together actors from the academic, industrial and public space (triple helix), define a promising scope of introducing digital technologies in the public sector, and demonstrate a path towards wide-scale adoption in the triple helix constellation.


While areas of interest to Societal Innovation Projects broadly relate to the Digital Futures research matrix, the Societal Committee has emphasized the following challenges in particular:

  • The communication and logistics systems of the future: The region and the city must offer a sustainable, effective transport and communication system for the flows of people and goods where the climate targets for 2030 can be achieved. Participating stakeholders must assist with this by creating more efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly ecosystems for transport and communication.
  • Health and care independent of location: The region and the city must be able to offer healthcare to people regardless of where they are; i.e., offer them the freedom to live rich lives based on individual circumstances without being tied to specific physical locations.
  • Climate-positive urban expansion: The region and the city must work to increase growth in a sustainable environment in accordance with the targets for Agenda 2030 while enhancing the quality and minimising climate impact. Particular emphasis is placed on resource supply and usage in respect of critical resources that currently face significant system challenges in the urban environment, primarily energy, water and food.

In addition, thematic matchmaking workshops held during March and April 2022 are addressing the following topics, (however, all proposals within the Digital Futures research matrix are welcome):

  • Sustainable mobility, logistics, and cities
  • Machine learning for personalized medicine and digital health
  • Cyber-secure digital transformation
  • Industrial metaverse
Digital Futures Strategic Research Programme: 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 four contexts Smart society, Digitalized industry, Rich and healthy life, and Educational Transformation.


The following positions/titles/roles are eligible to apply:

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Full Professor
  • Permanent full-time Researcher  (”tillsvidareanställning”)

with a PhD degree and 80% employment or more at KTH Royal Institute of Technology or Stockholm University.

Societal Innovation Projects furthermore must feature a collaboration between academia, industry and the City of Stockholm and/or Region Stockholm (triple helix). Karolinska Institutet (KI), other municipalities and regions are encouraged to participate in the projects.

No restrictions on the constellation with respect to the academic partners is required, however, the formation of new constellations within the realm of academic members in Digital Futures (KTH, SU) is a plus.

The PIs do not need to be Digital Futures faculty when applying but will become Digital Futures faculty if the project is granted.

Project duration and maximum funding

In this call, up to four Societal Innovation Projects are to be selected. Societal Innovation Projects are supposed to be a maximum of two years in duration. The projects will be funded with a maximum of 1 MSEK overall in terms of Digital Futures funding.

The involved industrial and societal partners are expected to provide additional project funding as cash or in-kind contribution. A further form of contributing to project proposals by industrial or societal partners is by demonstrating access to grant funds from which resources can be dedicated towards SIPs. Such granted funds must be aligned with the scope of the SIP. (In the case of funding through the Senseable Stockholm Lab, proposals can also leverage potential funding to be decided later by SSL/City of Stockholm). Per industrial or societal partner a project contribution of a minimum of 250 kSEK is required. Overall, Digital Futures will match the overall project contributions of industrial and societal project partners with cash funding, up to a maximum of 1 MSEK overall per project.

Further requirements on the amounts of requested funding per academic project partner are to be found in the project template.

Partner funding (cash and/or in-kind) provided to the project needs to be clearly outlined in the project application and in a Letter of Intent provided together with the proposal.

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, Collaborative projects targeting Diversity and Inclusion, and Seed Projects will be taken into consideration. Funding from Digital Futures to Societal Innovation Projects, Partner Innovation Projects, Industrial Innovation Projects, and ISPP Demo Projects is included, but not the part from partners. Digital Futures Postdoctoral Fellows projects or Digital Transformation Institute projects are not taken into account.


Societal Innovation Project proposals are supposed to be evaluated in two steps. After checking the eligibility constraints, proposals are evaluated first by an external evaluator, which reviews proposals according to the criteria:

  1. Potential for societal impact: Does the project target an important societal challenge and does the outcome of the project have the potential to be implemented and scaled to realistic conditions? To what extent does the project contribute to the goals of the Digital Futures Industrial and Societal Partnership Programme? To what degree does the project build on the state-of-the-art within its area? Does the project target a specific intersection in the Digital Futures strategic research matrix?
  2. Project feasibility: How well is the project plan described? Are the financial and human resources sufficient to achieve the objectives of the project? Are risks identified and activities for handling risks described?
  3. Consortium qualification: How well do the project’s combined competence, project management, roles and stated resource requirements correspond to its goals? How well
    does the application present how collaboration between the public sector, industry, and academia shall be achieved? How clear are the commitments by partners described?  

In step 2, the panel feedback from step 1 will be evaluated by the Digital Futures Industrial/Societal Committee to prepare a recommendation by the Digital Futures Industrial and Societal Board, followed by a Governing Board decision on Digital Futures cash co-funding (and finally approved by the KTH rector).

How to apply

  1. Prepare your application according to the project description template: 2022_03_11_DF_ISPP_Project_Template
  2. Send your application file together with all supplementary material to:

Contact & Questions

Contact for further questions. Please include “Societal Innovation Projects call” in the subject of your email.