Mistra Closing the Loop II: Valuable Resources from Industrial Waste

Call for research proposals

This post is also available in Swedish


The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) invites researchers, jointly with companies and organisations, to apply for funding of research projects aimed at developing new knowledge and boosting collaboration among different stakeholders. The purpose is to render industrial waste usable by upcycling it so as to yield valuable resources by efficient, sustainable means. A new approach and interdisciplinary research are needed for a shift from present-day waste management to sustainable resource conservation, with a focus on material recovery. We also need to bring about efficient, functioning, closed ecological cycles with low impact on the environment and health, for which requirements include a higher degree of cooperation among various stakeholders. Mistra intends to invest, over four years, a maximum of SEK 40 million, of which SEK 2m is intended for programme-wide communication activities and collaboration among individual projects.

The aims are to

  • demonstrate the importance of the secondary raw-material market for improved sustainability
  • develop generic methods and principles for improved resource efficiency within the circular economy
  • boost knowledge of resource flows in society, investigate policy instruments and develop innovative technical processes for value-enhancing upcycling of industrial by-products and waste into chemicals, materials and products
  • strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish industry through innovative development of technology and materials with a high environmental profile and increased business gains
  • reduce environmental impact in Sweden, the EU and worldwide.


Mistra is a research foundation that invests some SEK 200 million annually in strategically important research for a good living environment. It invests in strong research environments that, in cooperation with users (such as companies, organisations and government agencies), seek to effect change by solving key environmental problems and helping to achieve society’s sustainable development. The research also aims to boost Sweden’s future competitiveness.

In 2012, Mistra started the programme ‘Mistra Closing the Loop: from waste to resource’ (www.closingtheloop.seexternal link). This programme has comprised seven individual projects spanning a broad area and, as a common denominator, involving recovery of resources from industrial processes. An overarching synergy project ties all the components together. The present seven individual projects of the programme will end in autumn 2015, and we are now calling for research proposals for a second phase of the programme.

The background report drawn up ahead of the first application call for Mistra Closing the Loop, which is just as topical today, is available to read on Mistra’s website.

Who can apply?

The Mistra Closing the Loop II programme will comprise four to eight (4–8) projects. Applicants must be researchers from universities, other higher education institutions or research institutes, jointly with partners from suitable commercial stakeholders. The latter must provide financial resources or work inputs corresponding to 30% of Mistra’s contribution to the projects. Mistra encourages small companies to take part in the programme.

Overall, the research programme is intended

  • to be intersectorial and interdisciplinary, and to have a clear system perspective
  • to link together flows and strategically important stakeholders
  • to have potential to create major technical leaps forward and to be innovation-driven
  • to have a high environmental profile
  • to apply a market perspective
  • to include social and economic aspects, such as policy instruments and business models
  • to be oriented towards the needs of industry in Sweden.

Each individual project must

  • have interdisciplinary and intersectorial components
  • maintain high scientific quality
  • have a potential to create strategic environmental change in the management of industrial waste products
  • be groundbreaking and innovative.

The research programme is oriented mainly towards the following industrial sectors:

  • forest industry (paper and pulp)
  • chemical industry, including plastics
  • metal and steel industry, including engineering
  • recycling industry.

Research to prevent waste through modified design, material choices, consumption behaviours or other such means is not prioritised in this call. Nor is upcycling of hazardous or household waste a priority.

Application process and review

The application must be written in English (apart from a summary in Swedish). If the application exceeds the prescribed number of pages, the excess pages will not be taken into account in the evaluation.

The project application must include the following parts:

  1. Cover page with the following information:
    Project title
    Amount of funding applied for
    Main applicant (name, postal and email addresses, telephone numbers)
    Co-applicant (name, department/company/institute)
  2. Summary (maximum one page)
  3. Summary (in Swedish, maximum one page)
  4. Project description (maximum 10 pages)
  5. Project organisation (maximum one page)
  6. Project budget (maximum one page)
  7. Time schedule (maximum one page)
  8. CVs for applicant(s) and primary researchers (maximum one page per person)
  9. Relevant publications (applicants’ own, maximum of 10).

Note that the project description must clearly identify which environmental problems are to be solved and which strategic aims and target groups are relevant. How the results will be communicated should also be described.

Within the programme, collaboration among different academic disciplines and with companies of various sizes is expected. Depending on the orientation of the research, expectations may also include collaboration with government agencies and other public institutions. One or more academic institutions, companies and/or organisations may be specified as partners in the project application. Researchers who are working outside Sweden can be included in this team and thus in the project application, but the main applicant must be a university, other higher education institution or research institute in Sweden.

Project applications are evaluated in terms of their scientific quality, benefits, communication and organisation. The evaluation also takes into account how well each project contributes to the whole programme. Mistra reserves the right to withdraw the call if not enough applications fulfil the requirements specified.

Time schedule

2015 July         Publication of call
16 October, 4:00 pm      Deadline for project applications to reach Mistra November                        Evaluation of applications
December (preliminary)  Award decisions taken by Mistra’s Board

2016 January                    Programme start with project leaders’ meeting April (preliminary)            Project start


Christopher Folkeson Welch, Programmes Director, +46 (0)707 323 074, chris.welch[at]mistra.org.

  1. For financial queries, please contact Mistra’s Head of Administration/CFO Birgitta Jonsson Palmgren, +46 (0)8 791 3480, birgitta.jonssonpalmgren[at]mistra.org.