When SASNET was launched in 2000, it was considered that in order to succeed with the ambition to create a true all-Swedish network, this had to rest upon two pillars: The Internet Gateway being one; and the second was the planning grants since these reflected SASNET’s ambition to distribute seed money to researchers and educationists for projects at all Swedish universities, and as equally important support research in all academic fields, not only Social Sciences and Humanities but also Medicine, Technology and educational sciences. During the first years, half of SASNET’s budget was devoted to planning grants, in later years they covered a third of the yearly budget.
During the period 2001–2009, SASNET distributed planning grants to new research and educational projects. A total number of 119 networking grants were distributed. The researchers who benefited from the grants belonged to 20 different Swedish universities and university colleges. Out of the 119 grants awarded, 72 referred to networking grants to plan for new research projects/programmes; 20 to grants in order to develop new educational projects/programmes; 10 to organise interdisciplinary workshops; and 17 to the guest lecture programme.
In the evaluation of SASNET that was carried out in 2005, it was shown that 70 p.c. of the projects that had been given SASNET planning grants till 2004 had later been given substantial funding from other sources, such as Sida/SAREC, Swedish Research Council, Bank of Sweden Tercentennary Fund, and the European Commission. Also thereafter, SASNET’s networking grants continued to play an important role setting new South Asia related projects/programmes in motion.
The applications were screened and selected by a reference group of senior Scandinavian professors working on South Asia related research. During the first years, the group members were Pamela Price, University of Oslo; Neil Webster, Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS); and Malin Åkerblom, Uppsala University. They were later succeeded by a new trio consisting of Jytte Agergaard, University of Copenhagen; Ewa Wäckelgård, Uppsala University; and Arild Engelsen Ruud, Oslo University.
The distribution of planning grants was discontinued after 2009, when SASNET no more received funding from Sida. Lund University did not accept to finance projects at other Swedish universities.