- ALF is the abbreviation in Swedish of a national agreement between the Swedish government and seven Regions on the education of physicians and clinical research.
Since 2015 there is also a regional ALF agreement between Lund University and Region Skåne. Its purpose is to promote the development of health and medical care through deeper and wider cooperation in research, education, development and care.
Focus on clinical research
ALF funding is distributed following applications, and is intended for clinical research conducted within the health and medical care organisational structure. Clinical research means research that:
- requires the structures and resources of healthcare
- has the objective of solving a problem of ill health or identifying factors that lead to greater ill health.
Strong clinical research is essential for knowledge-based health and medical care of high quality. Clinical research is the link between the laboratory and the patient – the work of clinical researchers is a guarantee that new knowledge will quickly reach healthcare, and that knowledge from healthcare will be fed into research.
ALF funding, once allocated, cannot be saved for coming years. That is, the ALF funding that is not used during the year must be transferred to coming years' funding. It must be repaid to the central government. This is explained further below.
Calls for applications for ALF funding
ALF funding has three types of research spaces:
Calls for applications in the ALF research space for ST doctors are made each Spring. The funding is for four years.
This is part of a programme of structured doctoral education and researcher career paths in the clinical area. The objective of the ST research space is for the holder to:
- undertake a doctoral education in a clinical subject, concluding in the defence of a doctoral thesis
- achieve a specialist qualification.
Calls for applications in the ALF research space for Young Clinical Researchers are made each Spring. As of the call in 2022, the funding is a four-year grant.
A researcher who has had a research space for a four-year period is able to apply in competition for another four-year period.
It is seen as particularly important that promising young researchers are given the opportunity to conduct research for longer continuous periods. A special initiative is therefore being taken for young clinical researchers, employed by the Region in the health and medical care organisation. (Please note that it is not necessary to be a medical doctor.)
Calls for applications for research funding for ALF Projects are made as:
- four-year grants every fourth year (in the spring). The latest major call for applications was in 2022 for the period 2023-2026.
- An additional smaller call for applications for project funding for a two-year grant is made after two years (in the spring). The latest call was in 2020 for the period 2021–2022.
The next call for applications for ALF Projects is in 2024 and will then be for a two-year grant for 2025–2026.
Please note that applications for all research spaces must be written in Swedish.
Important information for all holders of ALF funding
Under § 11 of the national ALF agreement that applies as of 1 January 2015, ALF payments have to be used during the year decided by the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) for their allocation. Any surplus is repaid to central government no later than three months after the end of the calendar year.
As a holder of ALF funding, it is important to check in good time with the responsible finance officer that their budget is balanced before the end of the year.
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