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Call for Theme applications


The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) is tasked with stimulating interdisciplinary research within Lund University. The institute gives researchers from different disciplines and faculties at Lund University the opportunity to work together on a research problem area for a period of one academic year. One of the institute’s instruments for interdisciplinary research is the “Theme”.

A Theme must be innovative in nature and address a research problem that requires knowledge from several disciplines working together to find a solution. The institute is an incubator for new research ideas and welcomes applications concerning research questions that are at an early stage and not yet mature enough for conventional research funding. Nonetheless, the work on the Theme must have a clearly formulated objective and focus on paving the way for future research on the subject.

Working on a Theme normally entails pursuit of a common language and common concepts. An interdisciplinary approach puts the central focus on the research question: it drives and develops methods and theories. For example, this can lead to the development of perspectives, conceptual frameworks, definitions and investigative models, which are examples of potentially desirable research objectives for a Theme.

The Theme is encouraged to explore its subject with the help of creative approaches and methods. Members are expected to be open-minded and curious. Each member must be prepared to challenge their own perspectives, and the group must be prepared to question and potentially change their original perspectives. 

In evaluating an application, emphasis is placed on creativity, on the novelty of the topic and on the combined expertise of the group and its relevance for achieving the group’s objective. 

What the institute offers

The Pufendorf IAS offers a unique environment at Lund University. The institute constitutes an oasis in the midst of academic life and offers the time and space to develop new research questions and interdisciplinary ideas.

The building is both modern and historic, an excellent place to share ideas and engage in discussion, flexible and with a high standard for group meetings in terms of both premises and technology. The regular meetings of the Theme group are to be held at the institute. The institute’s premises are available for group members every day of the week, and the group has access to its own office.

The Pufendorf IAS compensates members’ salary costs for work on the Theme, which generally involves 20% of full-time work for nine months. Each Theme is offered a maximum of SEK 100,000 for its activities.

In order to supplement the Theme group’s expertise and develop international networks, Themes may invite international visiting research fellows for extended stays during the Theme period.

The staff of the institute contributes through practical, administrative and technical support during work on the Theme. 

Members of the Theme

A Theme must be well balanced in terms of knowledge and experience in relation to the questions outlined in the application. It is essential that the Theme brings together the skills necessary to successfully explore the subject. A Theme generally involves 5-8 researchers from different faculties at Lund University. The most important thing is that the Theme brings together the breadth of interdisciplinary expertise required in order to address the selected problem area.

The member’s departments are compensated for the working hours for the one day per week that the researchers undertake to work at the institute. 

The activities of the Pufendorf IAS are primarily intended for researchers employed at Lund University. In exceptional cases, researchers employed at external institutions may be included among the paid members of the Theme, provided they are able to participate in the regular work that takes place on site in Lund. Unpaid members have no obligations in relation to the institute and the composition of the Theme’s expertise cannot therefore be based decisively on the knowledge contributed by an unpaid member.

International Fellows Programme

Funding via an International Fellows Programme offers Themes a unique opportunity to expand the group’s expertise by inviting international visiting research fellows for extended stays.

The programme offers international research fellows the opportunity to take a funded sabbatical from their normal employment for part of the Theme period. 

In order to qualify for the programme, the majority of the visiting research fellow’s research work and employment must be outside of Sweden, and they must contribute specific cutting-edge expertise to the Theme that the Theme cannot obtain in any other way. They must be prepared to work on the Theme full-time on site in Lund for at least one month and a maximum of six months. 

The candidates are nominated by the Theme and must have been asked and accepted the nomination before the application is submitted. Their names are to be stated in the application along with proposed dates for their visits. A CV of a maximum of five pages is to be appended. The visiting research fellows must be prepared to participate if the Theme is granted.

The institute’s requirements

A Theme works one day per week at the institute and the members are expected to be present and participate in the work of the group.

The coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the group actively works together. The coordinator is also responsible for communication between the institute’s staff and the group, and for supplying the institute with information and documentation concerning the Theme.

The Theme is not expected to produce publishable research results during the Theme period. However, the Theme must present a synthesis of the group’s work at the end of the Theme period. This should be forward-looking and highlight further studies and future plans for the group. The purpose of this activity/output, and its form, must be specified in the application, including how this relates to the objectives presented in the application. Further development of its content and form should be included as part of the work on the Theme.

After the work has been concluded, the Theme will submit a report summarising the group’s results in relation to the objectives. All members provide feedback in a mandatory questionnaire, which forms the basis for further development of the institute’s activities. 


The application is assessed by international experts with no previous knowledge of Lund University or Swedish circumstances. It must be written in English, be no more than five pages long and include up to ten relevant references. The application must be written using the institute’s template for Theme applications and contain three parts: proposal, budget and CVs. The budget must be compiled and submitted using the institute’s Excel template for applications.

Detailed instructions on the content of the different parts of the application are found in the templates.

Information about Theme applications

Deadline for applications for Themes starting in autumn 2025 is 9 December 2024. 

Please send your applications via e-mail to: ansokan [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se

Please use our application templates:

Information meeting - on applying for a Theme or ASG

Are you interested in applying for a Theme, or an ASG? Do you have questions you can't find the answers to in our FAQ or elsewhere on the website? 

Welcome to join an information meeting on 9 October 2024 at the Pufendorf IAS (Biskopsgatan 3 in Lund) or our digital zoom-Q&A 11 October 2024
For the latter, please register your interest by e-mailing contact [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se (contact[at]pi[dot]lu[dot]se)



Stacey Ristinmaa Sörensen, director
stacey [dot] ristinmaa_sorensen [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se (stacey[dot]ristinmaa_sorensen[at]pi[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 62 10

Eva Persson, coordinator
eva [dot] persson [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se (eva[dot]persson[at]pi[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 62 03

Please send applications via email to: contact [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se (ansokan[at]pi[dot]lu[dot]se) 

Applying for a Theme at the Pufendorf IAS? Watch our Q&A with the institute's director Stacey Ristinmaa Sörensen.