Criteria

Evaluation of applications

Assessment of applications is factual and impartial and takes into account the instructions and directions that applicants received in the call text. Applications are assessed by an international evaluation panel comprised of active researchers who have the competence to assess both the scientific quality and the potential societal benefits, as well as the bilateral dimension. The group can also evaluate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. Each application is evaluated for scientific quality and benefit to the forest sector and society in accordance with the criteria listed below. All criteria must be addressed in the application and applicants are encouraged to clearly and distinctly relate the application to these criteria. All scientific criteria and benefits are regarded to have equal importance, and the overall assessment of the application is made with no predetermined weighting of criteria.

Bilateral collaboration between Finland and Sweden (1–6)

Benefits resulting from the bilateral collaboration in the project with regard to the establishment of research environments that contribute to providing valuable knowledge for the forest industry and society in both countries.

Scientific quality

Hypotheses and topics examined (1-6)
Originality and innovativeness of the project. The importance of the scientific purpose and the possibility to achieve significant results in the short-term and long-term. Degree of interdisciplinary research, i.e. multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, are regarded as positive when appropriate to the topics under examination.

Method and performance, including budget (1–6)
Feasibility and suitability of the scientific methods. Defined and realistic work plan, coupled to a feasible budget. The budget for the project must be clearly specified and motivated.

Competence of the consortium and project constellation (1–6)
Ability to perform the project according to the project plan, sufficient experience of project leadership, strengths and competitiveness of the project constellation.

Benefits for the forest sector and society in Finland and Sweden

Potential and benefit (1–6)
Long-term potential and direct benefits of the project in being able to solve needs and genuine problems, as well as to contribute to profitability, competitiveness and sustainable development, for example by strengthening and developing the forest sector in a broad sense, or in creating preconditions for new businesses to emerge.

Communication and dissemination of results (1–6)
Description of relevant stakeholders and end users. There must be a defined and realistic plan for how the results obtained will be communicated further to the next phase, to enable the benefits to be utilised at the conclusion of the project. This plan should include the consideration of open science in the project, such as open-access publishing of the results and making the project’s data widely available. The degrees of data openness may justifiably vary, ranging from fully open to strictly confidential.

Ranking

The reviewers evaluate the applications they have been allocated and rank these according to the evaluation criteria. They also write short comments describing the strengths and weaknesses of each application. These comments are mandatory and are used to facilitate discussions at the evaluation panel meeting and to assist the rapporteur in preparing the written opinion statement. The points allocated by the individual panel members and the written comments comprise the working material of the panel and are not communicated to the applicant. For each evaluation criterion, the evaluation panel members score the application according to the following scale:

  • 6 points excellent
  • 5 points very strong
  • 4 points good
  • 3 points satisfactory
  • 2 points weak
  • 1 point unsatisfactory

Grade scale

When assessing the applications the evaluation panel also give the application an overall grade.

  • A = An excellent application corresponding to an average score of 5–6.
  • B = A good application corresponding to an average score of 3–4.
  • C = A weak application corresponding to an average score of 1–2.

Decision process

  • When applications are submitted to the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA), a principal reviewer will be appointed by KSLA, as well as two assistant reviewers, from the evaluation panel for each application. Conflict of interest will be rigorously examined.
  • The three reviewers will write a comments summary and score each criterion, in addition to assigning an overall grade in accordance with the stated scale. The scoring and comments are written on a special form that is submitted to KSLA at a predetermined time. If any reviewer believes that he or she has a conflict of interest in any case this must be immediately notified to the KSLA administrative office.
  • KSLA will collect the evaluations and notify the evaluation panel of these prior to the evaluation panel meeting. At the panel meeting, projects are discussed and ranked according to the points allocated and the A-C grade scale.
  • At the panel meeting, the principal reviewers present a summary of each application that was assigned to them. The ranking allocated by the individual panel members and the written comments are used as a starting point for the subsequent panel group discussion. After the panel has reached an agreement, the principal reviewer writes a statement about each application that was assigned to them and mails the statement to the administration office at KSLA.
  • All applicants receive a written statement containing the collective assessment of the application by the evaluation panel. The collective statement reports the assessment in terms of: Ranking for each criterion (1–6), overall grade score (A–B) and a written comments summary.
  • Each funder will make their own funding decisions based on the evaluation.