Q&A Academic/Industrial DDLS PhD Projects Calls

Q: Will the positions be equally distributed across the four areas of DDLS?
A: We strive to have a fair balance between the four research areas, as well as geographical and gender distribution of projects in the DDLS program over the long run. However, even though we will try, we cannot guarantee to achieve that for each annual cal.

Q: Can only DDLS fellow apply for the industrial PhD?
A: Everyone who meets our requirements for the industrial PhD projects can apply for the industrial PhD.

What’s the funding for each granted position?
A: Please see the call text.

Q: Is it mandatory to have an employment?
A: It is mandatory that the main supervisor have secure employment. It is utmost important that a supervisor can take responsibility for a PhD project during the suggested PhD period.

Q: For the fellows, they seem to be quite unevenly distributed among the 4 research themes. How was that determined, and will it be similar for the PhD call?
A: The Fellows spots were determined by the KAW donation letter, and therefore there was a particular number of Fellows for each research areas. This is not the case for PhD positions.

Q: Do the PIs need to be part of specific Swedish Universities for each of the topics?
A: We do not have any restrictions that PIs should be part of any specific Swedish Universities, however, they need to be employed at one of the Swedish Universities.

Q: When will the funding start approximately? Can the student start immediately after admission?
A: The funding is available for PhD students starting at September 2024 at the earliest.

Q: May one apply once for academic *and* once for the industrial call?
A: You can apply once as main supervisor of an academic grant and once as main supervisor of an industrial grant. You can be co-supervisor in unlimited applications. However, DDLS fellows can only be main supervisor in industrial PhD projects.

Q: What is covered? Only student salary or also a package for e.g. data acquisition like sequencing?
A: Please see the call text.

Q: What about assistant professors or BUL positions who technically have time-limited positions?
A: This might be an issue, please talk to your head of department if your employment can be secured for the entire time of the PhD period. Hence, if this is ensured, we will consider that the department will support the PhD student under your supervision or through other arrangements.

Q: Would an application be considered less favourable if there is no DDLS fellow as a co-supervisor (assuming the main applicant has all the relevant data-drive life science expertise)?
A: Not at all. One of the goals of this call is to link other experts, who work with Data-driven techniques but are not involved in the DDLS program, to the program. Hence, other DDLS-community and expertise are equally important.

Q: Can non-DDLS fellows (e.g. SciLifeLab Fellow) apply for these positions? (either alone, or in support of a DDLS fellow)
A: Yes, they can apply either alone or with the support of a DDLS Fellow.

Q: Would the new PIs coming in through this program, have a possibility to contribute also to the training initiatives? In terms of shaping relevant courses. Or is that already set?
A: We expect PIs to be active contributors to the community and be active participants of the school as a trainer in the courses.

Q: Will the usual KAW cap on overhead (20%) on salaries apply? So the rest needs covering from the university?
A: A maximum of 18% of the amount granted by KAW can be allocated for premises and indirect costs (overhead). There is also a maximum coverage of 50% for LKP (payroll overhead) on personnel costs.

Q: Are you saying then that co-supervision and collaboration with DDLS fellows is important to the project proposals?
A: It is positive but not needed to get your project approved.

Q: How many co-supervisors is allowed/expected?
A: We have not set an upper limit for the number of co-supervisors.

Q: Can SciLifelab Fellow and WASP apply together?
A: The calls are open to everyone who meets the requirements to apply, see the call text.

Q: What is the rough balance in evaluation of project idea / training environment / PIs CV?
A: The project idea should be a cutting-edge scientific project in the field, and the training environment should be an environment where a DDLS PhD student can blossom and become an expert in the field.

Q: The starting dates of the PhD students are not a crucial factor, are they?
A: As this is a national call for a national program, the starting date of the PhD students is important and the plan is for all PhD students to start their studies together at the DDLS Research School September 2024, alternatively no later than October.

Q: Can co-applicants come from outside of Sweden?
A: Having co-supervisors / collaborators from other countries is positive and can enrich the PhD study period. However, they cannot be paid from KAW.

Q: Can the deadline be extended or postponed?
A: At the moment, it does not look like that we will extend or postpone the deadline given many other subsequent steps in the process that they also need to catch up on. This will not be the only call; we will have annual calls for doctoral projects within the research school.

Q: Is there a requirement that co-supervisors need to be employed at a Swedish university?
A: There is no such requirement from our side that the co-supervisor needs to be employed at a university.

Q: Can I apply for this call of PhD projects if I have not started my new position yet?
A: You need to have a position by the call deadline in order to apply. The good news, however, is that this is an annual call and you are welcome to apply next year.

Q: Is there any template available for the letter of commitment for industry applicants?
A: You can find the letter in our application system, Anubis. The green button labelled “Application System” at the end of the call web page takes you to the files you and your employer need to sign.

Q: The guidelines allow several co-supervisors; however, in the online form, there seems to be place only for one co-supervisor’s details.
A: Please fill in the online form and add the letter of commitment for just one co-supervisor. However, the other co-supervisor(s) and the corresponding cv(s) should be included in the template so that he/she also is included in the reviewing. Regarding a letter of commitment from a second (or third) co-supervisor it is not necessary in this first step. After a possible approval of the application, we will ask you to provide commitment letters from the remaining co-supervisors with the head of departments.

Q: Can I use our university template regarding the letter of commitment?
A: We prefer our own template since this means extra work for us. If we get template from all different universities, we need to double check that everything is the way as we require.

Q: Is it required for the academic PhD project to have a co-supervisor? In the online application it seems necessary?
A: For the academic PhD projects, it is not required that there be a co-supervisor in the application phase. The co-supervisor may join the project at a later stage. The application form is also for applicants who already have a co-supervisor in place. For the technical aspect in the online application system, you may upload the unsigned template.

Q: When an academic PhD student is employed at his main supervisor’s institution and an industrial PhD student is employed by the company, which LKP applies to the co-supervisor’s institution?
A: The DDLS is primarily intended to fund costs related to the PhD student salaries, and no funding is directly intended for salaries of main or co-supervisors.

Q: Is the budget meant to be included or should I just mention if any extra costs come up, how to deal with it?
A: There is no need to include a budget, it is sufficient, as you describe, to include additional costs and how you plan to cover them during the course of the project.

Q: In terms of the research environment and in the context of DDLS and synergistic benefits, does this apply only to a PhD student or also our (my and co-PI’s) contribution and involvement with DDLS?
A: Both your and the PhD students’ involvement in the DDLS program is of interest, as they are not completely separate and to some extent interdependent.

Q: There are many details on the call text, how can I best organise my application?
A: Information given on the call page is to give an idea on the content of the application. Please follow the instructions in the application template.

Q: All supervisors (main and co-supervisors) are from the same department; do we need several commitment letters for each and one of the supervisors?
A: The main supervisor needs a separate commitment letter signed by the head of department. The co-supervisors can sign a joint commitment letter with the head of department.

Q: Should the reference list be included in the three-page project description, or should it be a fourth page with references?
A: The reference list must be included in the three-page project description.

Q: I am affiliated to a hospital and adjunct to a university, do I qualify as a PI in the call even though my salary does not come from the university?
A: PIs, who are affiliated with a university and eligible to act as a supervisor for a PhD, can apply to this call. In the context of medical research, additional affiliation and employment at a hospital is OK, if the PI also i) has an affiliation at a university, ii) is able to devote time to supervision of a data-driven PhD work at a university, iii) is able to administer the funding for a PhD student at the university (the funds cannot be transferred to a hospital) and iv) is supported by the university’s department chair, including any necessary co-funding.


Q: Do industrial PhD students have to be employed by a company or they can also be employed by research institutes or authorities, e.g. a healthcare region?
A: Research institutes and various types of state, regional, municipal works and bodies do not count as industry and cannot receive funding from the program.

Q: Do industrial partners have to be based in Sweden?
A: The industry partners should be Swedish and based in Sweden. One of the main and long-term goal of the DDLS initiative is to place Sweden among the world-leaders in the field.

Q: Any restrictions on the size or global location of industry partners for industry PhD?
A: There are requirements for industry partners to be able to support the overhead costs required by the program. When it comes to the location of the industry partners, the program only supports Swedish companies located in Sweden that follow the Swedish rules and regulations. One of the main and long-term goal of the DDLS initiative is to place Sweden among the world-leaders in the field.

For questions, please contact ddls@scilifelab.se

Last updated: 2023-12-19

Content Responsible: Johan Inganni(johan.inganni@scilifelab.se)