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CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Themes 2021 – 2022

the call is now closed

Employees at Lund University are hereby invited to apply for the opportunity to establish a Theme at the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies during the period autumn semester 2021 – spring semester 2022.

What is a Theme?

The objective of the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies is to give researchers at Lund University the opportunity to develop new questions where researchers from different disciplines collaborate on a specific area within research. A Theme is therefore to revolve around a research issue, which best can be solved through knowledge from several disciplines in collaboration.

A Theme usually requires participation of 8–10 researchers from several of the University’s faculties. We do not require that a certain number of disciplines are represented. The main point is that the Theme gathers the skills needed to successfully address the chosen research issue.

The Theme should be innovative in nature. It may therefore be at a stage where it is not yet ready for regular research funding; publishable research findings are not expected from a Theme. However, the Theme must have a clear objective for its work that focuses on clearing the way forward for further research. The work within a Theme usually involves the development of definitions, conceptual tools, inquiry models, etc. These research objectives can subsequently lead to different types of research communication and applications, networks or formation of centres. The institute does not set requirements for the type of activity, but wants to know how the Theme’s objectives are linked to a more long-term vision for the development of the research area that the group wants to engage in.

A Theme at the Pufendorf Institute is a unique opportunity, and the members are expected to pursue the work with intellectual effort and scientific courage. Members must be prepared for a challenge and the group must be ready to question and possibly change their original perspectives. In the assessment, emphasis is placed on the application’s creativity and versatility, that the composition of the group’s expertise is well justified and that it appears probable that the group will achieve its objective.


What the institute can offer

The institute offers space and time and for both joint and individual work. Working hours are spent in a stimulating work environment on historic premises. Administrative, practical and technical support is available on site.


Working hours

As a rule, Theme members work 20 percent of normal working hours at the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, for eight consecutive months. The coordinator and assistant coordinator can work to a slightly greater extent (See Budget). The departments are remunerated for the working hours that their researchers undertake at the institute.


Theme members

The economic arrangement assumes that Theme researchers, are employed at Lund University during the period autumn 2021 – spring 2022 and that they are able to take a leave of absence from their position which corresponds to the working hours at the institute.

A Theme must be well balanced in terms of knowledge and experience in relation to the issues at hand. The areas of knowledge must be combined into one whole. Work in interdisciplinary themes is particularly well suited for researchers at a stage when they are firmly anchored in their discipline. The requirements for employment at Lund University and the expected scope of commitment in the Theme must be clear to all participants before the time of application. Moreover:

  • The Pufendorf Institute’s activities are primarily aimed at employees at Lund University. Researchers employed at external departments may, in exceptional cases, become paid members of a Theme, provided that they can participate in the regular work on site in Lund. If an external member is included in a Theme, the Institute will enter into an agreement with the researcher’s home department, which is reimbursed for salary costs excluding overhead.
  • If a researchers in a Theme change employer during the period, they can remain in the group, provided that they are able to continue to participate in the work in Lund. If a participant is unable to take part at the institute, the remuneration will cease. The Theme can if they wish replace the participant with another employee at Lund University.
  • After approval by the head of department and supervisor, doctoral students are welcome to be part of a Theme but without remuneration. As unpaid members, they have no obligations to the institute. The composition of the Theme in terms of expertise can therefore not decisively be based on the knowledge contributed by a doctoral student.
  • A wider network of interested researchers can also be linked to a Theme. They are welcome to participate in the work, but have no obligations to the institute and their expertise cannot be crucial to the Theme’s work. 


Guests and visiting researchers

The Theme can continuously invite external guests from both Swedish and international universities for seminars and other short-term activities. But the Theme also has the opportunity to invite international guests to collaborate with them during longer periods. The invited researcher will be employed at the institute as visiting researchers. This opportunity is aimed at researchers whose research work is mainly conducted at a university outside Sweden.

The opportunity to invite foreign visiting researchers is offered through a special programme established by the LMK Foundation. The funded period can be shared by several visiting researchers who in turn can divide their stay into two visits. Visiting researchers are expected to stay in Lund and work together with the Theme during a minimum of 1 or maximum of 4 months. The institute is responsible for salary, travel and accommodation.

Costs for visiting researchers fall outside of the Theme’s requested budget, but the nomination of candidates should preferably be included in the application. Potential visiting researchers should be asked and give a preliminary statement of interest by approving that their CV be included in the application.  


Institute requirements


  • A Theme shall conclude with a forward-looking activity that focuses on ways forward for continued research in the field. The form of the group’s synthesis activity can be of different kinds, a film as well as a conference, a publication or something else.
  • The Theme should submit a short report that summarises the Theme’s acievements in relation to its objectives and discuss the interdisciplinary process that has been developed.
  • All members undertake to participate in the surveys that form the basis for the development of the institute’s activities.


Advanced Study Group – an alternative with fewer requirements

If the idea for a Theme application is not sufficiently mature or if the commitment is deemed to be too extensive, the group should preferably apply to form an Advanced Study Group (ASG) instead. An ASG has a more limited goal and thus requires a lower work effort. (See call for applications for ASG.)


Application format

The application must be written with consideration to the fact that it will be assessed by international experts without knowledge of Lund University or Swedish conditions. A standard use of references to related research is to be applied and a Theme proposal should include:

  • a description of a multidisciplinary research issue
  • a description of the group’s objectives for the work in the Theme
  • a vision for the development of the specific area of research after the Theme has reached its goal
  • a presentation of participating researchers that justifies their contributions of knowledge to the Theme
  • a plan for the intended structure of the Theme’s work during the year.



The budget provides the Theme with a cost framework; the amount is not paid to the group as regular research funding. The researchers’ salaries are paid through the institute’s cost centre, and the financial and administrative services are provided by the institute’s staff. On completion of a Theme, (the last day of the spring semester 2021), the Theme will no longer have access to the funds, any remaining money stays at the institute. (However, any outstanding invoices are paid after completion of the Theme.)

  • The total salary costs for a Theme may amount to a maximum of SEK 2 million.
  • The budget, to be appended through a special form, shall include the cost of remuneration for the Theme researchers. The salary costs are to be calculated based on 8 months’ salary plus employer benefits. Indirect costs (OH), however, are not to be included in the budget. Indirect costs at central LU and faculty level are automatically added to the requested funds. Overhead is not paid to the departments as the institute provides the workspace and administrative services.
  • An individual researcher, who is also a coordinator, will be paid a maximum of 40% of an annual salary. In the case of two coordinators, they will be paid a joint maximum of 60% of an annual salary.
  • Other costs, e.g. for seminars and other events, should be specified in the application. The final synthesis activity will be allocated a maximum of SEK 100 000. The Theme will need to apply for external funding to cover more costly events.
  • Costs for visiting researchers are not to be included in the budget; these are financed by the institute through a special fund.
  • The Pufendorf Institute is to encourage cooperation between researchers from different disciplines within Lund University. The budget can, therefore, only in exceptional cases, include minor costs for conference trips or fieldwork.



The application is to be written in English, and divided into three separate documents with the following content:

Document 1
Theme proposal, max. 5 pages (excl. cover and references). On the cover, state the Theme title and the names of the participating researchers and the department affiliation.

Document 2
Relevant CVs for any participating researchers, max 1 page per participant. For Swedish publications, provide an English translation of their titles. For coordinators, leadership experience is relevant.

Relevant CVs for any proposed visiting researchers, max 5 pages per researcher.

Document 3
Budget, in accordance with the Institute’s template.


Decision-making process

Decisions on new Themes are taken by the board of the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies. Once a shortlist of applications has been determined, they will be forwarded to external experts for assessment. The processing time is estimated at 2 months, which means that the applicants will be notified of the decision in March 2021. 

If you have questions or need further information, please contact:

Ann-Katrin Bäcklund, director, ann-katrin [dot] backlund [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se, LU ext: 2 04 71

Eva Persson, coordinator, eva [dot] persson [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] seLU ext: 2 62 03


We look forward to reading your application!


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

Eva Persson, coordinator
eva [dot] persson [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se,
LU ext: 2 62 06