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Call for Theme applications 2019- 2020

Employees at Lund University are hereby invited to apply for the opportunity to form a Theme at the Pufendorf Institute during the period autumn semester 2019 – spring semester 2020. Your electronic application must be received by the Pufendorf Institute no later than 10 January 2019, sent to:

The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies was established to give researchers at Lund University the opportunity to develop working methods in which researchers from different disciplines collaborate within a scientific problem area. A Theme is therefore to revolve around a current research issue, which can only be solved through knowledge from several disciplines in collaboration.

A Theme usually requires the participation of 8–10 researchers from three or more faculties at the University. The number of participating disciplines is not set in stone; the essential thing is that the Theme combines the skills needed to successfully address the targeted issue. The collective knowledge of the members must be sufficient to allow them to work on the chosen issue. As the institute is primarily intended for Lund University employees, the Theme may need to strengthen its knowledge within certain sub-areas with the help of external researchers. The institute offers various opportunities for such exchange.

The Theme is to be innovative in nature and can therefore be at a stage where it does not yet qualify for actual research funding. However, the Theme must have a clear objective for the work to be performed during its year at the Pufendorf IAS. A successful Theme requires a well-composed combination of researchers with knowledge that contributes to the research area. It also requires commitment and active participation from its members.

A clear objective does not mean delivering research findings that are eligible for publication during the Theme period; instead, the Theme objectives usually pave the way for further work in the field. The Themes at the institute have often resulted in research applications, conferences, publications, research communication, networks or centres. 

Emphasis is placed on the creativity and versatility of the application, that the composition of the group’s expertise is well-justified and that the set objective for the work is feasible.

What the institute can offer
The institute offers research time in a stimulating work environment on historical premises, as well as administrative and technical support for the work.

Working hours
Researchers who are part of the core group of a Theme usually devote 20 per cent of their working hours at the Pufendorf Institute for eight consecutive months. The Theme coordinator, and possibly assistant coordinator, may work to a somewhat greater extent. In exceptional cases, a Theme member may be granted a lower number of working hours, provided that it does not seriously undermine the strength of the group within the knowledge area in question. The members’ departments are compensated for the hours the researchers devote to work at the institute, provided that the Theme’s researchers are employed at Lund University during the period autumn semester 2019–spring semester 2020.

Researchers from external departments may on occasion be included among the permanent members of the Theme, who receive remuneration, provided they are able to participate in the regular work on site in Lund. Themes can also connect to a wider network of interested researchers. These researchers are welcome to participate, but have no obligations towards the institute.

The Theme’s approval depends on the composition and expertise described in the application. If a Theme researcher changes employers during the theme period, they may continue to partake in the group, as long as they are able to participate in the regular work in Lund. A participant who is unable to participate in the work at the institute will no longer receive remuneration, but the person may be replaced with another employee at Lund University.  

Doctoral students, within the scope of their education, may participate in a Theme for all or part of the Theme period. Doctoral students, however, are never financed by the institute.

The requirements for employment and the expected scope of the Theme’s work must be clear to all participants at the time of application. If the commitment appears to be too extensive or the idea for the Theme is still quite immature, it is advised that the group apply to form an Advanced Study Group (ASG) instead. An ASG involves a more limited objective and thus less work. (See calls for applications for ASGs.)   

Visiting researcher programme
As the Pufendorf IAS generally limits its activities to employees at Lund University, it may prevent a comprehensive assessment of the Theme. Therefore, a special programme, established by the LMK Foundation, usually offers the opportunity for international visiting researchers to stay in Lund and work together with the institute’s Themes. This provides an opportunity to link one or more visiting researchers (persons who mainly work at universities outside Sweden) to the Theme’s work for a brief or extended period (min. one week, max. four months). Proposals for visiting researchers, and their CVs, should therefore be included in the application. In addition, the institute offers the opportunity to invite colleagues from other universities to participate in short activities of the Theme.

Institute requirements
Each Theme is to conclude with a forward-looking activity, focusing on future issues and further studies. The synthesis activity could be in the form of a film, conference, book release, or other. We also request a brief report describing the group’s activities and the interdisciplinary process which was developed during the work. In addition, all participants undertake to participate in the surveys that form the basis for the development of the institute’s activities.


A theme proposal should include

  • a description of a multidisciplinary research problem;
  • a description of what the group wishes to achieve during the Theme year in relation to the problem area;
  • a presentation of the participating researchers, justifying their knowledge contribution to the Theme;
  • a plan for the structure of the interdisciplinary work;
  • a simple plan for communicating the group’s work.


Things to consider when drawing up an application
The application is to be written in English and will be assessed by international experts. It should therefore be written with the assessors in mind and apply the regular use of references to related research. The Theme must be well-balanced in terms of knowledge and experience in relation to the issues you wish to work with. The knowledge areas are to be interlinked. Work in interdisciplinary Themes is particularly well-suited for researchers who have had time to firmly establish themselves within their field of knowledge.    


  • The total costs for a Theme may amount to SEK 1.9 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. OH are not paid to the departments though, as the institute provides workspace, administrative and financial services etc.
  • The participation of one or more coordinators in a Theme will be paid a maximum of 60% of an annual salary.
  • Other costs, e.g. for seminars and symposia, should be specified in the application. Costs for a symposium or final conference will receive a maximum of SEK 100 000 in budget funds. The Theme will need to apply for external funding to cover more costly seminar series and symposia.
  • Costs for visiting researchers are not be included in the budget; these are funded 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 costs of conference trips or field work.


Note that the budget provides the Theme with a cost frame – the amount is not paid to the group in the form of research funding. The researchers’ salaries are accounted for by the institute’s cost centre, and the financial and administrative services are provided by the institute’s staff. On completion of a Theme, on the last day of the spring semester 2020, the Theme will no longer have access to the funds within the cost frame, and any remaining funds are to be returned to the institute. (However, any outstanding invoices will be paid after completion of the Theme.)


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

Document 1
A description of the research issue and strategy for the planned work, max 5 pages (excl. references)

Document 2
Relevant CVs for participating researchers, max 1 page per participant. (For coordinators, leadership experience can be relevant).
Relevant CVs for proposed visiting researchers, max 5 pages per researcher.

Document 3
Budget, in accordance with the provided template provided:  FileExcel template


Decision-making process
Decisions on new Themes are taken by the board of the Pufendorf IAS. Once a shortlist of applicants has been determined, the applications 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 2019. 


For more 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] se, LU ext: 2 62 03

We look forward to reading your application!

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