Research initiation grants for data-driven life sciences and society (DDLS/WASP-HS)


Form of support: Research project grants
Focus: Interdisciplinary research projects relevant to both DDLS and WASP-HS
Applicants: One or two PIs
Application deadline: November 4 at 15:00
Contribution period: two years with, possibly, a two-year extension (evaluated in competition)
Grant amount: Maximum 2 MSEK/yr
Budget framework for the call: 8 MSEK
Start of grant period: June 2025
Application period: summer- autumn 2024
The grant decision will be published: Q1 2025

For questions regarding the call, please feel free to contact

View of a Cyborg hand holding a DNA branch 3d rendering


The main aim of the project must be to increase the understanding of how using AI, autonomous systems, and data-driven methodologies in the life sciences, has consequences in the data driven life sciences, biology, medicine, and/or society.

This call aims to provide funding for research investigating the human and social challenges of data-driven strategies developed and applied within the life sciences. The research should aim to increase the understanding of how using artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous systems, and data-driven methodologies has effects and consequences in the life sciences, medicine, and/or society. The research should be of a visionary nature and have a clear impact both for the data driven life sciences and the humanities and/or social sciences. Impact here can mean for example scientific impact, but also industrial or societal impact. The call also aims to promote collaborations between researchers from the data-driven life sciences and the social sciences and humanities.

The call is open to researchers working in the life sciences, social sciences, and humanities, broadly construed. In the life sciences, the research must be related to data-driven approaches in molecular biology, evolution and biodiversity, prediction medicine, or epidemiology or biology of infection (see DDLS research areas below). In the social sciences and humanities, research areas include, but are not limited to, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political science, law, history, linguistics, languages,
the creative arts, and theology. Examples of research topics include the study of ethical, legal, organizational, epistemic, economical, and cultural challenges as well as other possible topics outside of those listed.

The call is part of a long-term commitment by the Wallenberg Foundations, which aims to stimulate
collaborative research between the data-driven life sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.


Data-driven life science (DDLS) uses data, computational methods and artificial intelligence to study biological systems and processes at all levels, from molecular structures and cellular processes to human health and global ecosystems. The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) aims to recruit and train the next-generation of data-driven life scientists and to create globally leading computational and data science capabilities in Sweden. The program is funded with a total of 3.1 billion SEK (about 290 MUSD) over 12 years from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg (KAW) Foundation.

The DDLS program will recruit 39 high-profile young group leaders and launch over 210 postdoctoral positions and establish a research school for 260 PhDs, including industry PhDs and postdocs. Fellows will be recruited to the 11 participating host universities/organizations, but brought together under a national DDLS program coordinated by SciLifeLab. The DDLS program has four strategic areas: cell
and molecular biology, evolution and biodiversity, precision medicine and diagnostics, epidemiology and biology of infection.

The Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program – Humanity and Society (WASP-HS) is a research program in which researchers tackle the challenges and impacts of upcoming technology shifts and contribute to the development of theories and practices of human and societal aspects of AI and autonomous systems. The particular focus is on the ethical, economic, labor market, social, cultural, and legal aspects of the impacts that AI and autonomous systems bring.

The vision of WASP-HS is to realize excellent research and develop competence in the oportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems with a strong investment in research in social science and humanities. This multidisciplinary approach is expected to advance our understanding of the challenges and impact of intelligent and autonomous technology, as well as contribute to the development of theory and practice of human and societal aspects of AI and autonomous systems.

DDLS and WASP-HS are both committed to forming meaningful collaborations to bridge the gaps between the scientific disciplines of DDLS and WASP-HS. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation has earmarked funding for such joint efforts in their donation. This call is a part of this collaboration and is intended to give researchers from DDLS and WASP-HS resources to pursue joint research projects.


Any researcher with a PhD affiliated at a Swedish University or The Swedish Museum of Natural History can apply. Applicants do not need to be currently part of, or funded by DDLS, SciLifeLab, or WASP-HS to be eligible to apply. Project participation of researchers from both the DDLS and WASP-HS research areas is highly encouraged but not a strict requirement. All applicants are expected to actively participating in the project. An applicant can be involved in a maximum of two applications.     

If relevant, the funded projects should make project outcomes open access (where legally and ethically possible) and be prepared to present their findings to the DDLS and WASP-HS communities.


Any potential data, resources, and code should be made available in accordance with the FAIR principles. The projects will be expected to follow the national legal and ethical rules and regulations as well as those of their institutions and SciLifeLab, where applicable.

Project participants are expected to, where possible, be active contributors and participants in community events, such as seminars, and symposia. 


We expect to fund between 2-4 projects. Funded budgets are expected to lie typically between 2 to 4 MSEK per project. Projects are expected to last either 12 or 24 months.


• The grants will be funded by KAW through KTH. Any necessary co-funding will be covered by each university/department.  

• The KAW funding conditions for DDLS program allows a maximum of 20 of the approved grant to be used for overhead and premises costs. Additionally, there is a maximum coverage of 52,5% for LKP (payroll taxes and social security contributions including holiday allowance %) on gross salary and allowance costs.

• All estimated project costs for the project period are to be specified in the budget template that will be provided.    

• The grant will be transferred retroactively for reported costs according to the approved funding, 

• Requisitions and cost reporting will be sent semi-annually to the SciLifeLab Operations Office/KTH. KTH as SciLifeLab/DDLS program host university coordinates the cost reporting and reimbursement processes. All necessary templates will be provided for these purposes at a later stage.    


Submission – how to apply

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

Application form and word template

  1. Name of project
  2. Name, affiliations of main and co-PI
  3. Project plan (max 5 pages, including references)
  4. The scientific and societal impact and relevance for DDLS and WASP-HS fields (max 1 page)
  5. Short CV and selected most relevant publications (max 10 publications) for main and co-applicants.
  6. Commitment letter from receiving departments
  7. Budget (template for overall budget)


Projects will be evaluated according to the assessment of the combination of the following criteria:

  • Scientific relevance (quality and novelty) from a data-driven life sciences, humanities, and social sciences perspectives   
  • Scope
  • Feasibility
  • Multidisciplinary    
  • Societal and scientific impact    
  • Merits of the applicants in relation to their career stage    
  • Potential synergies within the planned collaboration,
  • Merit of ideas and alignment with the visions and goals of DDLS and WASP- HS

We will also consider: 

  • Open science and data sharing aspects   
  • Future impact on and relevance for WASP-HS/DDLS community   
  • Industrial or societal relevance   
  • Complementarity of the applications (for example, gender balance, career stage, geographical distribution and project topic) 


Don’t miss the opportunity to network at the DDLS/WASP/WASP-HS conference on September 24-25. In order to further facilitate matchmaking, we have also set up a webpage where you can describe your own research interests and find potential collaboration partners.


Contact: or

Last updated: 2024-06-26

Content Responsible: Johan Inganni(