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Closed call 2023-03-10: Topic proposal for the Digital Futures Focus Period 2024

Digital Futures is now enthusiastically inviting proposals from potential organizers of the Digital Futures Focus Period 2024, which is tentatively taking place in May/June 2024.

The Digital Futures Focus Period program is an ambitious 5-week guest researcher event that will be repeated annually but with a new topic every year. The objective is to attract top-level researchers (and their junior colleagues) by funding their accommodation in Stockholm and creating optimal conditions for exchanging ideas, expanding professional networks, initiating new collaborations, and tackling timely research challenges.

Each visiting scholar stays for 3-5 weeks and is hosted by a Digital Futures faculty. In the middle of the focus period, when all visitors are present, there will be a common 3-day workshop with additional invited speakers and attendees from Digital Futures and the Swedish industry and society.

Since Digital Futures is a cross-disciplinary research centre, we are looking for topic proposals of a similar nature. It could, for instance, be a timely concretization of one of the intersections of the Digital Futures Strategic Research Programme matrix, that is, Trust / Cooperate / Learn for Smart Society / Digitalized Industry / Rich and Healthy Lives / Educational Transformation.

The 2023 Digital Futures Focus Period is about “Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence in Agricultural Management”. Additional inspiration can be obtained from the focus periods that the ELLIIT centre in Linköping/Lund organizes in 2022: “Data-driven modelling and learning for cancer immunotherapy” and “Hybrid AI – Where data-driven and model-based methods meet”.


A proposal should include

  • A description of the suggested research topic,
  • Name of the responsible organizer (a permanent employee at KTH, Stockholm University or RISE) and the co-organizers,
  • Suggested names of the international scientific program committee (a wish list),
  • The motivation of the topic (scientific relevance and timeliness) and the long-term impact that the focus period could have on Digital Futures’ research activities.

The application can be brief at this stage: 2-3 pages is sufficient.
The application should be saved as a single PDF file and submitted to Emil Björnson by email to:

Please include “Application: Digital Futures Focus Period 2024” in the subject of your email.

Important dates

Deadline for proposals: 10 March 2023

Interviews: 20 March 2023, at 14:15-16:00
All the relevant proposals will be presented by the organizers at the Strategic Research Committee meeting on this day.

Visiting scholar period: 3-5 weeks, tentatively in May/June 2024.


Each Digital Futures Focus Period will be granted funding for a budget of up to 1 000 kSEK, which will cover travelling and housing costs for guests, catering, etc. Digital Futures provides administrative support with regard to bookings.

Organizational steps

The organization of a Digital Futures Focus Period has the following steps.

  1. Selection of proposals
    The Associate Director for Seminars & Workshops prescreens all applications, and all the relevant ones are presented to the Strategic Research Committee (SRC), which evaluates the proposals based on scientific relevance, timeliness, and potential for long-term impact on the Digital Futures activities. The SRC gives its evaluation to the Executive Committee, which decides on which proposal to fund. Once a proposal has been accepted, and the dates have been settled, it is time to proceed with the next steps.
  2. The international scientific program committee is invited
    The reason for having a scientific program committee is to secure the highest conceivable international excellence for the Digital Futures Focus Period. Without the committee, it would be difficult to attract world-leading researchers from a topic where we have limited local activities and even harder to persuade those researchers to spend an extended period in Stockholm. The optimal scientific program committee has a spread of competence and contacts, scientifically and geographically, and consists of people with a high degree of international visibility that gives credibility to speaker invitations. Committee members need to be active in the process of suggesting the names of invitees. Ideally, at least one member of the scientific program committee should agree to come for an extended stay during the focus period, and all should be interested in attending the 3-day workshop.
  3. Invitations to workshop speakers
    The organiser and the scientific committee prepare a list of workshop speaker invitees based on scientific excellence, aiming for balance in geography, age, and gender. All speakers are expected to stay for at least three workshop days. Speaker invitations include airfare (economy class with different limits for Europe and other parts of the world) and accommodation. Invitees who cannot personally extend their stay beyond the workshop are encouraged to nominate a young researcher who would compete for an invitation as visiting scholar during the focus period.
  4. Public announcement
    Digital Futures announces the focus period on the web page, in its newsletter, and on social media. The organizer should look for ways to reach other relevant scientific communities by other means. The announcement invites young researchers to express their interest in attending the Digital Futures Focus Period as visiting scholars. The application procedure includes the submission of a CV and an abstract of a one-hour seminar the scholar would like to give during the visit.
  5. Invitations to visiting scholars
    Based on nominations and applications, the organizer selects visiting scholars to be invited. Visiting scholars are offered free accommodation, office space, and free workshop registration but no travel reimbursement. To maximize the time for interaction, all visiting scholars are asked to stay for at least half the focus period plus the workshop (usually 3 weeks).
  6. Open call for workshop attendees
    The workshop will be free of charge but have a limited number of open spots for attendees; ideally, the workshop should fit in the Digital Futures hub so that the funding can be spent on other aspects than booking a venue. The invited speakers and visiting scholars, and their hosts, have priority in attending the workshop. Digital Futures faculty and other researchers at KTH, Stockholm University, and RISE are encouraged to register in an open call. Relevant industry and societal partners are also encouraged to send representatives. If there are open spots after these calls have closed, we can also accept further external workshop attendees.
  7. The organizer makes a seminar schedule for the visiting scholars
    All visiting scholars are asked to give Digital Futures seminars outside the workshop days based on the abstracts submitted in the application process. The seminars by the visiting scholars start already the first or second day of the 5 weeks and continue with daily seminars (until everyone presented), to encourage continuous interaction. The organizer is responsible for assigning hosts to the visitors, making a schedule of meetings with local researchers, and organizing additional social events. The schedule is announced to the visitors and local researchers well before the start of the focus period.

Contact & Questions

For questions, please contact Emil Björnson, Associate Director for Seminars & Workshops, by mail: