Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) is Sweden’s largest individual research program, and provides a platform for academic research and education, fostering interaction with Sweden’s leading companies. The program addresses research in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and software as enabling technologies for development of systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems of systems. WASP strengthens, expands, and renews the national competence through new strategic recruitments, a challenging research program, a national graduate school, and collaboration with industry. The program is conducted in close cooperation between leading Swedish universities with an aim to promote the competence of Sweden as a nation within the area of AI, autonomous systems and software.

Aim and scope

WASP now announces a call for NESTs within AI, Autonomous Systems and Software with the main focus on Cyber Security. NEST is an instrument in WASP that will encourage Novelty, Excellence, Synergy, and Teams. In this call WASP accepts applications from all the five partner universities Chalmers University of Technology, Linköping University, Lund University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Umeå University as well as the Affiliated Groups of Excellence at Örebro University, Uppsala University and Luleå University of Technology.

A NEST should address a specific strategic high-priority research challenge within WASP with international impact and visibility that requires the gathered competence of a multidisciplinary team of investigators in order to be solved. For this call, the main topic should be within the foundations of the Cyber Security domain. The novelty and originality aspects and the relevance to Swedish industry are important.

A NEST normally consists of a team of 3-5 investigators of which one is the PI and the rest co-PIs. For this call, the main PI should have the main expertise within the Cyber Security domain. Given the multidisciplinary nature of a NEST it can be an advantage to have several sites involved. In this case a plan for how to bridge the geographical distance should be provided.

The main PI should be able to devote at least 25% of his/her time to the NEST. The total budget in this call is 80 MSEK, and maximum 4 NESTs. The maximum amount that can be applied for is 4 MSEK per year per NEST and during 5 years. A WASP researcher may be PI in at most one proposal and co-PI in at most one proposal.

Evaluation criteria

The main evaluation criteria are:

Scientific quality

The scientific and technical merits of the proposed research. The potential for the research, if successful, to significantly advance fundamental understanding in the topic area. Relevance to the research areas of WASP.

Novelty and Originality

To what extent does the proposed project define new, interesting scientific questions? To what extent does the proposed project use new ways and methods to address important scientific questions?

Merits of the investigators

It is the collected merits of the team of investigators that are evaluated, and academic age of participants is taken into account to enable fair assessment of academic accomplishments. It is of importance that the main PI both has time and the potential to take on the academic leadership of the project.

Relevance to Swedish industry

The short- and/or long-term relevance to Swedish industry should be explained. It is an advantage if industry is actively involved in the project.


The project should involve PI and Co-PIs with complimentary skill sets with a base in the WASP domain but with possible extensions into other fields.


In addition, the following criteria are considered as advantages but not requirements:

Relation to WASP’s core areas

It is an advantage if the proposal relates to and addresses more than one of WASP’S three core areas: AI, Autonomous Systems, and Software. This should not be decided by the academic departments where the investigators are employed, but by the type of research that they do.

Age and gender diversity

It is an advantage if the NEST is diversified with respect to age and gender and that gender is considered in the recruitment of, e.g., PhD students, done within the project.

Plan for NEST environment(s) and additional resources

One intention behind the NEST concept is to create several local WASP hotspots with high entropy. The plan for how the hotspots will be created and maintained is therefore an important criterium. It is also an advantage if additional resources can be associated with the NEST. This includes both other resources funded by WASP, e.g., existing WASP PhD students, postdocs and WASP recruitments, and resources funded from other sources, e.g., university funding, Swedish Research Council, VINNOVA, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, etc.

Use of Funding

The intention is that the NEST funding should be used as flexible as possible. If the annual maximum limit is not exceeded (the total sum granted divided by the number of years of the project (normally 5)), the funding can, e.g., be used for:

  • New PhD students, including industrial PhD students. These students should participate in the WASP graduate school.
  • Existing PhD students currently not funded by WASP. These students are not required to be a part of the WASP graduate school.
  • Postdocs.
  • Existing faculty, including the PI and Co-PIs.
  • Guests, e.g., PhD students and professors.
  • Research engineers.
  • Equipment necessary to perform the project.

Proposal Structure/Format

The proposal should contain:

1.Popular Science Description (1 page)

2. Scientific Program (6 pages)
The program should contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Research challenge and chosen approach
  3. State-of-the-art and international outlook
  4. Research program
  5. Impact
  6. Industrial collaborations (WARA)
  7. Staffing (Directly funded and in-kind)
  8. Infrastructure needs
    References can be added in addition to the stipulated 6 pages.

3. NEST Environment description (1 page)

  1. Closely related projects and activities in the environment
  2. Forms of collaboration (within and between sites)
  3. HOTspot activities
  4. Communication and visibility plan

4. Budget motivation (1 page)

  1. Suggested funding from WASP
  2. In-kind university and or industrial funding
  3. Synergy with other available funding for the NEST

5. Support letters

  1. Hosting universities
  2. Industrial partners
  3. Other WASP partners

6. Letter of commitment from PI and Co-PIs
At least the main PI should be able to devote at least 25% of her/his time to the NEST.

7. CV for PI and Co-PIs

  1. Max two pages CV for PI and each of the co-PIs
  2. List of 10 most relevant publications + google scholar link

The above sections 1 – 7 should be submitted as a single PDF file.


Submit your application




2023-04-03     Call opens

2023-06-30     Call closes

2023-10-27     Decision communicated

2024-02-01     Project Start

View all calls
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