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Call for applications for Theme


The aim of the Pufendorf IAS is to stimulate interdisciplinary research within Lund University. The Institute supports researchers working together across disciplinary borders.  One of the Institute’s instruments available for interdisciplinary research is a “Theme”.

A Theme must be innovative in nature and address the sort of questions that require input from several disciplines in collaboration. The Institute is an incubator for new research ideas and invite proposals that are at a stage where they would not yet qualify for actual research funding. The objective of the Theme’s effort must however be clear; focus should be on paving the way for future research opportunities on the subject.

Work in a Theme usually involves the pursuit of a common language and concepts. An interdisciplinary approach will put research questions at the center, driving method and theory. This can lead to – for instance –  a development of perspectives, conceptual frameworks, definitions and investigative models, which are all examples of desirable research goals for a Theme.

Theme groups are encouraged to explore their topics using creative approaches and new methods. Members are expected to be open-minded and curious. Each member must be prepared to be challenged, and the Theme group must be ready to question and possibly even amend its original perspectives.

When evaluating an application, emphasis is placed on creativity and versatility, on the relevance of the group’s comprehensive expertise and on the feasibility of the Theme group achieving its objective. 

What the institute offers

The Pufendorf IAS is a unique environment at Lund University. It provides an oasis in academic life, offering time and space to incubate research questions in order to create a foundation for further research.

The building is both modern and historical, an excellent place for exchanging ideas and discussing, flexible and with a high standard for group meetings both in terms of space and technology. The Theme group’s regular meetings are to be held at the institute. The institute´s premises are available for the members at all times and the group is allocated an office in the building.

Each Theme is provided with a budget of maximum 100 000 SEK for activities such as a final seminar or for visiting guests staying for shorter periods of time.

To enrich the Theme and to develop networks on international levels, the Institute also offers the possibility to invite international guest researchers for longer stays throughout the Theme period.

The institute staff provide practical, administrative and technical support for Themes in organizing and planning their work.

The Theme’s members 

A Theme must be well-balanced in terms of knowledge and experience in relation to the issues outlined in the application. It is essential that the Theme bring together the skills needed to successfully address the chosen research problem. A Theme generally involves 5-8 researchers from different faculties at Lund University.  While a broad interdisciplinary span is encouraged, a certain number of subjects or faculties is not required. 

The members of the Theme generally work 20 percent of full time at the Institute, for eight months. The members' departments are reimbursed for the working hours that the researchers commit to working at the institute.

While the Pufendorf IAS is there mainly for Lund University employees, in well-motivated cases researchers from other universities can be invited to be members in a Theme. Their salary will be compensated on the condition that they participate on parity with Lund members.

Guest researchers

Additional expertise and input can be provided by guest researchers invited to work with the group over longer periods of time. These are financed by The Pufendorf IAS Guest Researcher Program. This program provides support for international researchers to work at the Institute for the entirety or part of the Theme period. To qualify for the program, guest researchers must be prepared to work with the Theme on site in Lund for a minimum of 1 month in total. Candidates must be listed in the application form and the dates of their visit/s specified. Their CV must be included and should the Theme application be granted, they must be prepared to visit as planned.

Note that other guests, Swedish or international, can be invited for shorter stays (up to 1 week). Dates for short visits do not need to be specified in the application (but estimated costs for travel and accommodation are to be included in the budget).


A Theme meet at the Institute one day a week and members are expected to be present and actively engaged in the collaboration.

Theme coordinators are expected to ensure that their Theme group is actively working together. They are the Institute´s main contact persons, responsible for communication between the Institute staff and the group and for providing the Institute with information and documents relating to the Theme.

Publishable research results are not expected to be achieved during the Theme period. However, the outcome of the Theme must be presented at the end of the Theme period. The Theme is to be concluded with a forward-looking activity/output to emphasize further studies and the next step for the group. The purpose of this activity/output - and the format - should relate to the research goals presented in the application. A relevant activity/output should be identified in the application, elaboration on content (and format) will be expected as part of the Theme´s work process.

A report summarizing the group's results in relation to its’ original objectives is to be submitted to the Institute.  Theme members are required to participate in the Institute’s survey aimed at maintaining the high standard of the Theme program.

The application 

The application will be evaluated by international experts without prior knowledge of Lund University or Swedish conditions. It should be written in English, not exceed 5 pages or include more than 10 relevant references. The proposal should be written using the Institute´s template for Theme applications, and the budget must be compiled in the Theme Budget Excel template.

The proposal should include: 

  1. Abstract
  2. A short popular description of the project
  3. Background and motivation
  4. Main research questions  
  5. Objectives:
    Long term (visionary): A description of the long-term vision for the development of the work, beyond the Theme period.
    Short term (the Theme period), including a plan describing how the Theme group will structure the work.
  6. Expertise and Theme members: a presentation of participating researchers and how they will contribute to the Theme.
  7. Budget:
    Salaries for all participating members
    Cost for short-term visitors and activities

Download the Theme Application template (word file)

(Note! The Theme Budget template has been exchanged on the 22nd of November 2022 as the first version was found to contain an error. It has now been corrected and updated)

Download the Call for Themes 2023 (PDF)

Information about Theme applications

The application deadline for Themes starting in September 2023 is December 14 2022.

The application should be send to ansokan [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se 

Call for Themes 2023 (PDF)

Theme Application template (word file)

( Note! The English budget template has been exchanged on the 22nd of November 2022 as we found the first version contained an error. It has now been corrected and updated)


Stacey Ristinmaa Sörensen, director
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
+46-46-222 62 03