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 developing 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 to promote the competence of Sweden as a nation within the area of AI, autonomous systems and software.

The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg national program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) was launched in 2020 by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW). DDLS is a 12-year funding initiative to support data-driven life science in Sweden with SciLifeLab as the host. The program will focus on four strategic research areas of data-driven research:

·      Cell and molecular biology

·      Evolution and biodiversity

·      Precision medicine and diagnostics

·      Epidemiology and infection biology

SciLifeLab and KAW share the ambition to foster the next generation of life scientists by creating a solid computational and data science base that helps scientists analyze and interpret data patterns swiftly, and to seamlessly integrate their data with the global life science data streams. Central components of such a venture include: education, training, recruiting new talent, sparking collaborations, and engagement in innovation activities.

AIM AND SCOPE

DDLS and WASP have a strong ambition to form solid collaborations by bridging the gap between the scientific disciplines of DDLS and WASP respectively. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation has earmarked funding for such collaborations in their donations to both these programs. As a first step in their collaboration, DDLS and WASP now announce a call for proposals for bridging research projects.

The funded projects should bridge the thematic profiles of DDLS and WASP and address fundamental research problems between the WASP and DDLS research areas and be of a visionary nature. Their aims should be something else than just applying existing computational tools to biological problems or datasets. Addressing these fundamental research challenges must require significant multidisciplinary activities such as conceptual, methodological and technological elements from both the life sciences and engineering fields with powerful research methodologies based on artificial intelligence focusing on mathematics, machine learning, or autonomous systems and software. Involved researchers will apply new mathematics, modeling, or informatics to life science data in integrated computational projects. The projects must, as an integral and central part, contain both: i. Harvesting or use of empirical data from experimental, clinical, or observational studies, and ii.  Theoretical or computational method development from sciences such as mathematics, computer science, physics, and engineering.

The funded projects should also build a collaborative community and a critical mass by making data, resources, and code available in accordance with the FAIR principles. Supported projects are also expected to create resources and technical capabilities that will be made available to others. Applications should thus specify how FAIR data sharing and open access publishing of data and code will be addressed and any exceptions stated at the time of application. All projects are required to establish a data management plan (DMP) at the start of the project.

Project participants (faculty and postdocs) are expected to be active contributors and participants in community events, training activities, seminars, and symposia.

A bridging research project will have both a rapid start-up phase and a high potential impact. Thus, a project can explore new synergies between existing projects and staff, and novel ideas enabled by forming multidisciplinary teams spanning across the DDLS and WASP domains.

The projects must have two applicants, one faculty from WASP and one from DDLS (defined under Who can apply), and propose cross-program collaborations such as:

  1. Twinning of postdocs (Two postdocs: one from the WASP community and one from the life science community working together on a joint project.)
  2. Joint postdoc (One joint postdoc with faculties from both DDLS and WASP sides. One faculty at one university will become the primary host for hiring and reporting purposes.)
  1. Transfer of postdocs (A PhD student from WASP applying for a postdoc in the DDLS field or the reverse.)
  2. Two junior faculty (Two assistant or associate professors, one from the WASP community and one from the life science community, to work together on a joint project.)
  1. Embedding of a DDLS expert in a WASP research group
  2. Embedding of a WASP expert in a DDLS research group

WHO CAN APPLY?

A project is led jointly by one faculty from WASP and one faculty from DDLS (at least 10% activity level dedicated to the project is expected). A faculty can be involved in maximum 2 applications.

The WASP faculty should be affiliated with one of the WASP partner universities CTH, LiU, LU, KTH, UmU, or with research groups at ÖrU or UU that are members of WASP and have their research focus within AI, Autonomous Systems or Software. Please note that it is not necessary to be a formal WASP faculty (that has signed a WASP affiliation agreement) in order to apply for this call. PhD students and postdocs from the WASP area should be/become affiliated with one of the partner universities as described above.

The DDLS faculty should work in life science with a data or computational angle within the four DDLS research areas and affiliated with a Swedish university or The Swedish Museum of Natural History.

BUDGET

The total funding available in this call is 40 MSEK over 2 years (20MSEK WASP and 20MSEK DDLS) with a maximum of 15 funded projects.

The maximum available funding for each project  is 1 MSEK/year/partner, i.e., a total budget of 4 MSEK for two years. Projects with transfer or joint postdocs or projects with embedding experts can apply for  smaller sums; 0.5-1MSEK/year/partner, i.e.a total budget of 2 MSEK for two years. We prefer all projects to last for two years, but some embedding and transfer projects may justify shorter single-year funding.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

  • The grants will be funded by KAW. Faculties are responsible for any necessary co-funding needed at each university/department.
  • Overhead and premises costs will be covered according to respective programs terms and conditions.
  • There is also a maximum coverage of 50% for LKP (payroll overhead) on personnel costs.
  • All costs applied for in the projects are to be specified in the budget template
  • Costs will be reimbursed by requisition to KAW. KTH and LiU will coordinate this process, templates will be provided for this purpose at a later stage.

PROPOSAL STRUCTURE/FORMAT

SUBMISSION – HOW TO APPLY

One person applies as the main PI (main applicant) of the project with a commitment letter from the co-PI (co-applicant).

Detailed information and templates are found in the application system. 

Go to the application system Anubis

The following information should be entered according to the templates in the application system:

  1. Name of project
  2. Name, affiliations of main and co-PI
  3. Project plan (max 2 pages) with clearly specified subject area and focus on data science and FAIR aspects
  4. Explanation of the collaborative benefits and the role of each of the PIs and parties (max 1 page)
  5. Short CV and top publications only for main PI and co-PI (max 2 pages each)
  6. Commitment letter for the main PI, should be signed by the Head of the department.
  7. Commitment letter for the co-PI should be signed by the co-PI and by the Head of the department
  8. Budget

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Projects will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Novelty and Originality from a data-driven perspective
  • Multi-Disciplinarity
  • Scientific quality
  • Merits of the applicants
  • Synergies in the planned collaboration, i.e. complementarity and team science

We will also consider:

  • Impact on both life science and of the computational challenges addressed
  • Open science and data sharing aspects
  • Impact on WASP/DDLS community
  • Industrial and societal relevance
  • Diversity of gender of the applicants

TIMELINE             

Call open       May 27th 2021
Call closes      September 1st 2021, 14:00
Funding decision by WASP and SciLifeLab boards        October-November 2021
Communication to applicants    No later than 2 weeks after decision
Project start April 1st 2022 at the latest

CONTACT

Please feel free to contact ddls-calls@scilifelab.se  or info@wasp-sweden.org. 

Please note, the addresses will not be manned during the month of July, 2021.


Learn More and Find Collaborators

Here are some useful sources for you to learn more about the call and to find potential collaborators.

WASP and DDLS join forces for research within a data-driven future

A Zoom-meeting to inform about the call and the new collaboration was held at June 11th, 2021. Below is the recording of the information session.

Abstract Submission

To find potential collaborators, common topics, exchange ideas and opportunities, and raise awareness of competencies on each side, we invite you to submit an abstract. The Abstracts will be published in a PDF, updated every Monday (except during July), until the Call closes.

Submit your abstract here

View the Abstract Compendium

The compendium was last updated Wednesday, August 24th. 

FAQ

The FAQ is structured in to the following categories:

  • How to collaborate?
  • How to think about the project?
  • Handling of data
  • Financial matters
  • Questions about the application

How to collaborate?

A: In the abstract book available at WASP’s website in the section above or at SciLifeLab’s webpage.

 

A: In this case, the partner needs to be affiliated with WASP.

A: Yes, you can choose, make sure that the project represents both WASP and DDLS research.

A: “You need to find a collaborator that makes the project represent both WASP and DDLS research

A: Yes

A: From the call text:

A faculty can be involved in maximum 2 applications. The applications are evaluated individually and in theory both can be funded if selected for financial support and there would be no need for you to choose one of them. Also make sure that you fulfil the requirement to have at least 10% activity level dedicated to each project.

A: Industry can be engaged but they cannot receive any funding from WASP or DDLS.

A: It is possible to involve international partners, but they cannot receive any funding from WASP or DDLS. It is important that the link between WASP and DDLS is strong in the project.

A: We are flexible, no preferences.

A: This is the first step of the collaboration, there are no decisions yet for how the projects and collaborations will be continued over the coming years. There is of course always the possibility to continue with the projects with funding from other sources.

A: This call does not align with the VR research environment call. You can apply to this call even if you have funding from other sources.

A: The faculty can be at associate/assistant/senior professor level. Please also note that two senior professors can apply, and two younger researchers can be active in the project.

A: It should be realistic and give added value to the project. The roles and engagement of the different partners should be well motivated.

A: Not for this call but both WASP and DDLS are expected to collaborate with WASP-HS.

A: To be eligible for the project for “Two junior faculty” (as stated in the call) one has to have a faculty position when one applies, that is by the 1st of September at the latest. Faculty positions are considered to be: assistant professor, associate professor or professor.

How to think about the project?

A: Please read the DDLS strategic plan: https://www.scilifelab.se/data-driven/ddls-strategy/

A: Please read the DDLS strategic plan: https://www.scilifelab.se/data-driven/ddls-strategy/

A: Please read the DDLS strategic plan: https://www.scilifelab.se/data-driven/ddls-strategy/

A: The project does not need to have an experimental part but must be of relevance for life science.

A: High risk projects are welcome but make sure that you describe the feasibility and address the foreseeable risks within the project. Novelty and originality are encouraged.

A: The call is for projects within the intersection of WASP and DDLS, and not tied to any particular implementations of AI. Mechanistic modelling falls well within the WASP areas of AI, autonomous systems, and software.

The projects should be something else than just applying existing computational tools to biological problems or datasets. Addressing these fundamental research challenges must require significant multidisciplinary activities such as conceptual, methodological and technological elements from both the life sciences and engineering fields with powerful research methodologies based on artificial intelligence focusing on mathematics, machine learning, or autonomous systems and software.

Handling of data

A: Data generation can be included but should not be focus of the project.

A: From the call text:

Applications should specify how FAIR data sharing and open access publishing of data and code will be addressed and any exceptions stated at the time of application. All projects are required to establish a data management plan (DMP) at the start of the project.

Financial matters

A: Eligible costs are for example: Reagents, salaries for project participants, including supervision for postdocs/experts/junior researchers, possible other collaborators that are affiliated with WASP or DDLS as defined under “Who can apply?” in the call text. For equipment, depreciation costs are eligible. Please check the budget template in the application system (Anubis) for more guidelines.

A: There is no need to divide the funding 50/50 between WASP and DDLS.

A: In this particular call PhD students are not included.

Questions about the application

A: No, references do not need to be within the page limit.

A: The main applicant has the overall responsibility for the conducted research so the expectation of the 10% involvement is necessary

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