Call 3. New KAW supported COVID-19 research program on vaccine effects

Call closed, deadline January 15, 2021

The aim of this call was to form a new part of the COVID-19 research program that would focus on the impact of the different vaccines being introduced. As vaccinations for COVID-19 started in Sweden in early 2021, with more than one type of vaccine, we aimed to coordinate funding to proposals with team science approaches focusing on exploring: (i) protective effectiveness and adverse reactions; or (ii) cellular and molecular immunological effects; and/or (iii) correlates between protection or adverse reactions and immune response profiles. As more specific examples, the program aims at addressing goals, such as those below:

  • Detailed information on vaccine-induced immune responses in different cohorts (selected by e.g. previous natural exposure, age or belonging to risk groups):
    – Innate immune response
    -Short- and long-term (systemic and/or mucosal) antibody response
    -Cellular immune responses
    -Immunologic memory after vaccination
  • Epidemiological and/or clinical data on protection and its duration in such cohorts against COVID-19 infection of different severity (from asymptomatic infection to severe disease)
  • Data on short- and long-term adverse reactions after vaccination in different cohorts
  • Data on possible correlates between protection or adverse reactions and the immune response after vaccination, e.g: Which antibody levels are needed for protection? Correlation between magnitude of vaccine-induced antibody response and duration of protection?; Evidence for T cell mediated protection?; Evidence for adverse reactions linked to aberrant immune response etc.

What could be applied for?

Tentative budget for the call was up to 55 MSEK (depending on the quality and quantity of the proposals). The proposals should strive to achieve adequately large and epidemiologically and/or clinically well-defined study groups and samples sets. SciLifeLab wished to achieve harmonization of both the epidemiological and experimental designs and analytical methods across the funded research projects to create comparable datasets. Therefore, on a case by-case basis, we asked the applicants to amend their proposals to facilitate comparability and synergies at the program level, such as laboratory methods or consents for data sharing or matching designs with international and EU guidelines.

SciLifeLab was not able to support the launch of expensive nation-wide clinical studies or phase III studies of new vaccine candidates. However, if such studies were launched otherwise, this program could support the molecular analysis of samples from such studies. In the immunological projects, a substantial fraction of the budget was expected to go towards detailed cellular and molecular immune response analyses.

We expect research results, data, and methods, including code, to be released throughout the project according to the FAIR principles and as early as possible in the research process. The information sharing should be arranged with the COVID-19 data portal operated by SciLifeLab Data Centre. In particular, proposals based on patient material were asked to provide information about how samples would be made available for additional molecular profiling, and the efforts taken through consent collection and ethics approval to address data- and sample sharing.

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

Who could apply?

Team science applications by PIs at any Swedish university and collaborators in health care.
PIs were expected to acquire pertinent consents and ethical, regulatory, institutional and other permissions before projects start.

How much could be applied for?

Suggested total budget per proposal was up to 7.5 MSEK.

Time period for funding: 2021-2022

Please note that the grant only covers OH costs up to 20% and a maximum coverage of 50% for LKP (payroll overhead) on personnel costs. The researcher(s) are responsible for the necessary co-funding needed at each university/department.

Evaluation process and timeline

Application deadline: January 15, 2021
Review: SciLifeLab Management Group (pre-screening) followed by experts in the field
Decision by SciLifeLab Board: February 3, 2021
Communication to all applicants: March 18, 2021

Questions regarding the call

We welcome questions on this new research program.
Please send them to

Last updated: 2022-07-15

Content Responsible: Alice Sollazzo(