Call for thematic proposals within the Polar Research Process (closed)

The call for research themes is the first step in the Polar Research Process (PRP). The intention is to give researchers a possibility to propose a thematic area for upcoming expeditions. Successful proposals will be further processed into finalised expedition themes together with other researchers and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (SPRS). A successful theme needs to include research questions from different disciplines and be able to lead to a synthesis report.

Projects under a specific theme can be both fieldwork- and non-fieldwork-based. The purpose of the theme is to promote collaboration between disciplines, increase accessibility and use of field data, and to spread knowledge outside of academia. Projects that, at a later stage, come together under a thematic area (steps 3–4 in PRP), can address both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary questions. After the expedition, disciplinary scientific publications are produced as usual. In the final stage of the PRP, research results are compiled into a multidisciplinary synthesis report addressed to decision-makers.

Criteria for thematic proposals

Thematic proposals should be carefully worked out and contain a description of the theme, the collaboration between different disciplines, and suggestions for the focus of the synthesis report. A theme is preferably developed by a group of researchers that represent both fieldwork and non-fieldwork-based research. It should also include a connection between natural and social scientific research formulations.

The following criteria will be used in the assessment of the thematic proposals:

  • The proposed research questions within a theme are well described and are in line with the international research frontiers of the field.
  • The theme proposals describe the collaboration between fieldwork and non-fieldwork-based projects.
  • The field research is conducted in the Polar Regions and with the infrastructure that SPRS can provide. See Q&A for more information about the infrastructure.
  • Timing and relevance – sometimes external factors such as research planning in other countries or development of major national and international research initiatives influence when a thematic area is best suited for implementation.
  • Applicability as a thematic synthesis report with a clearly stated societal relevance addressed to decision-makers.

Process for deciding a theme

After submission, the thematic proposals will be further developed through discussion with other researchers, stakeholders, and SPRS. This discussion will take place in a workshop where the proposals are presented and discussed. Before the workshop that will take place in November 2020, SPRS might contact the authors of the proposals for clarification and preparation. The preliminary date for the workshop is 23 November and it will most likely be digital. During the workshop, the thematical proposals may be broadened or slightly modified. The purpose of the discussions is to open the proposals up for other research groups, talk about opportunities for collaboration and what direction the synthesis report may take.

Shortly after the completion of the workshop, final proposals will be evaluated by an expert group appointed by SPRS. They will assess the feasibility of the proposals, prioritize between the themes, and if possible, determine the best time for the execution of the expeditions. SPRS then makes a final decision and announces a tentative timetable of thematic expeditions. This marks the end of the thematic proposal development. It will be followed by a call for projects under a specific thematic area that is planned for 2021 (step 3 and onwards).

Thematic proposals/Proposal submission

The thematic proposals are written in English with a summary in Swedish. The summary will be used both as a written introduction for the thematic workshop and, after further processing, an introduction to the theme on the SPRS website.

The call is closed

Do you have questions?

Please read the Q&A before contacting us. Because of summer vacations, the response times might be longer in July. Please write Polar Research Process in the subject line.

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