Managing Mistra programmes

Running a research programme under Mistra’s aegis comprises a wide range of components that are all equally important. Collected here is information about how it is done and what you need to think about on the way.

    Mistra’s mission

    Mistra is an independent foundation and research funder that has been investing in research of strategic significance to the environment and sustainable development since 1994. The Statutes constitute the framework of Mistra’s operations.

     Mistra’s research initiatives are characterised by three dimensions:

    • Mistra invests in research of the highest international quality
      The research is highly interdisciplinary. We bring in the best experts when we draw up calls for proposals and assess and evaluate our research.
    • Mistra invests in research that leads to concrete benefit to society
      The research is conducted in dialogue and partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the community. Knowledge, processes, products and services should be of practical use and reinforce Sweden’s competitiveness.
    • Mistra builds robust research environments
      Through long-term research programmes and centres, we build capacity and competence to solve complex environmental issues. This requires shouldering responsibility together and close cooperation with universities, research institutes and other stakeholders in society.


    Read more about Mistra’s research initiation and calls for proposals process here.

    Governance, management and organisation

    Programme plan

    The programme plan describes the aim, goal and organisation of the research programme. It consists of two parts: part A reflects the application and is usually kept unchanged throughout the programme period, while part B is a detailed plan for the actual implementation with, for example, a budget for various work packages, activities and planned deliverables. The programme director is responsible for ensuring that part B is updated annually and, after it has been adopted by the programme board, ensuring that it is submitted to Mistra’s office for formal approval.

    Programme host

    Mistra enters into an agreement with an organisation – a programme host – who is assigned responsibility for the programme’s implementation, management of granted funds (including distribution to other partners) and financial reporting to Mistra’s office. En programme host can be a Swedish higher education institution, a research institute or a different type of organisation that has the capacity to be responsible for all parts of a research programme.

    Programme board

    Each research programme has a board, which is appointed by the programme host in consultation with Mistra’s office. The board is responsible for ensuring the programme’s adherence to its plan but can also decide on changes. The board members bring new perspectives, experiences and networks to the programme and help to disseminate its results. The board chair must have an independent status in relation to the programme. People working in the programme should not be members of its board.

    Programme management 

    A programme director leads the programme together with a management group. The programme director reports to the programme board and in certain cases directly to Mistra’s office. The role of programme director is usually a full-time undertaking. The directorial role can in certain circumstances be shared be several people.


    Mistra’s programmes are based on cooperation between several parties in a consortium, led by a higher education institution, research institute or other organisation. The consortia often also include additional academic parties and need-owners, such as representatives from industry (large or small companies), the public sector or civil society. Mistra welcomes international participation in the consortia.

    Programmes director

    Each programme is assigned a dedicated programmes director from Mistra’s office, who supports the host, board and management in the implementation of the programme. Mistra’s CEO and the programmes director meet programme management for informal talks at regular intervals.


    Finance and administration

    Programme agreement

    Mistra and the programme host enter into a programme agreement. The agreement regulates the relationship between Mistra and the host and includes details such as the parties’ responsibilities and roles, co-funding model, management organisation, and financial terms and conditions. Within the programmes, an agreement with participating actors is sometimes also drawn up, referred to as a consortium agreement.


    Mistra’s conditions for funding usually mean that the parties involved are expected to contribute financially or with their time. The aim is to establish larger and more long-term research initiatives and to increase commitment among the participating actors.

    Strategic reserve

    Each programme must earmark an agreed proportion of Mistra’s funds in the budget for a strategic reserve. The programme board is responsible for the allocation of the strategic reserve, which is intended to enable investment in new research ideas, utilisation and communication during the programme.


    The programme board approves the programme plan and budget for the coming year of operation. Reporting to Mistra subsequently takes place once a year. The report must contain an updated programme plan, including a status report, and budget. Before Mistra has adopted the programme plan, it applies in the interim through the programme board’s approval. The programmes must also present an annual report describing their operations, results attained and utilisation. The annual report must be submitted to Mistra by 31 March (unless stated otherwise in the programme agreement) in the year after the year of operation to which the report relates.

    Programme phases 

    A programme is funded in one or more phases. An evaluation of the scientific quality and benefit to society of the research is always conducted at the end of the programme’s first phase. The programme’s budget can vary between the phases and depends on factors such as the extent to which the programme host has a clear plan for how the programme will continue after cessation of Mistra’s funding.

    Conclusion of programmes

    At its conclusion, the programme must submit a final report and final accounts for each phase. The report must contain a detailed presentation of the scientific results, the research findings’ use, and the competence development to which the programme has contributed. The final report and the final accounts must be approved by Mistra’s office. Funding that has not been used must be repaid to Mistra.

    Communication and utilisation

    The research programmes themselves are responsible for structuring and implementing their communication. Each programme must have a communications officer and a specific budget for the communications work. A communications strategy and an operative communications plan must be included in the overarching programme plan. Mistra’s office offers continual support on communication and utilisation.



    All research funded by Mistra is assessed and evaluated. The aim is to guarantee quality and support the programmes’ development and learning. Evaluations take place in the application phase, at the end of the first phase of the programme and sometimes after the end of the programme. Mistra mainly uses international assessors and engages both researchers and practitioners.

    Read more about Mistra’s evaluations here.