Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program

Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) is Sweden’s largest ever individual research program, a major national initiative for strategically motivated basic research, education and faculty recruitment.

The program addresses research in AI and autonomous systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems-of-systems. Software is the main enabler in these systems, and is an integrated research theme of the program. The vision of WASP is excellent research and competence in AI, autonomous systems and software for the benefit of Swedish industry.

The graduate school within WASP is dedicated to provide the skills needed to analyze, develop, and contribute to the interdisciplinary area of AI, autonomous systems and software. The curriculum provides the foundations, perspectives, and state-of-the-art knowledge in the different disciplines taught by leading researchers in the field. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between PhD-students, researchers and industry.

Current calls and recruitments

Call for collaboration projects

WASP is announcing a call for collaboration projects opened to the partner universities Chalmers University of Technology, Linköping University, Lund University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Umeå University, as well as Örebro University. Four to seven projects are expected to be funded, dependent on size and quality.

The collaboration projects should be in the area of artificial intelligence with a specific focus on machine learning, more specifically:

  1. Representation learning and grounding: deep learning, probabilistic models, statistical relational learning, auto-encoders
  2. Sequential decision making and reinforcement learning
  3. Learning from small data sets, GANs and incremental learning
  4. Multi-task and transfer learning

The projects are expected to address fundamental research problems in the above areas and expect to have a strong visionary and novelty nature. The projects finance primarily PhD positions, supervision time (up to 15% per PhD student) and additional research and project coordination time up to 20% per PI.

Call and application format

The call is open to the researchers employed by the WASP partner universities and Örebro University. An application is submitted by the PIs. The format should follow the available template and should be submitted as a single PDF file and should not exceed the length defined in the application form. The application form is available here. The application should be written in English and uploaded in EasyChair at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=mlx2018

A typical project would involve two to three PIs (maximum) and two to four (maximum) PhD students. Naturally, projects should last up to 5 years, following the general timeline for PhD studies. The PhD students should be newly employed on the project and not already enrolled. To increase the collaboration between universities, there is a requirement that the PIs are employed at different partner universities. A PI should not be involved in more than 2 applications.

Evaluation process and criteria

The evaluation will be performed in two steps. In the first step, the projects will be evaluated based on the scientific novelty, the relation to four scientific areas outlined above, the scientific excellence of the PIs and the added value gained from the collaboration. Selected projects will then get the opportunity to announce PhD positions during the summer. The second round of the evaluation will evaluate the excellence of the PhD students. Projects should start no later than January 1st 2019.

For further information on the projects, please contact +46 8 790 6729.


  • First round: June 3 2018
  • Second round: September/October 30, 2018

Call for expedition projects

WASP announces a call for expedition projects within AI, autonomous systems and software. In this call WASP accepts applications from Chalmers University of Technology, Linköping University, Lund University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Umeå University. Applicants are encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams across departments or universities to combine their research expertise in the identification of compelling research topics that promise disruptive innovations in AI, autonomous systems and software for several years to come. The expedition concept is modelled on NSF’s Expeditions in Computing and can be described as high gain / high risk targeted expeditions with a specific challenging goal rather than long term thematic frameworks.

An expedition consists of two PIs and two to four PostDocs during two years, with a possible extension of two more years after evaluation. It is considered an advantage if the PIs are from different disciplines, different universities, or if the PIs have never collaborated before. A PI may only be involved in one expedition proposal. More than two Postdocs can only be funded if the two PIs belong to different universities and if they bring different expertise to the project and have no significant prior history of collaboration.

The PIs should be able to devote at least 20% of their time to the active research and coordination in the project. The PIs will receive WASP funding corresponding to 20% of their salary costs. In the application it should be clearly described how the PIs will be able to make this time available. WASP will cover the salary costs of the PostDocs plus travel and material costs according to standard WASP model.

Evaluation process

The evaluation process will be performed in two steps. In the first step, only a short proposal will be evaluated based on the scientific potential of the proposal, the disruptive character of the proposal, the relevance to WASP, the scientific excellence of the PIs, the active participation of the PIs in the project, and the added value gained from collaboration. Selected projects will then be invited to submit full proposals which again will be evaluated. It is an advantage if the PostDocs are identified at this stage but it is not a requirement. The PostDocs do not need to be evaluated by WASP.

The first short proposal should contain the following:

  • Short Project Description (max 1 page, 11 font Times New Roman)
    The project description should include a short paragraph about the complementarity of the two applicants and
    how the collaboration will be practically conveyed.
  • Maximum one additional page containing as four separate parts:
    • Relevance to WASP 
    • Disruptive/transformative aspect of the project 
    • Explanation of how the two PIs should be able to each devote 20% of their time to the project 
    • Earlier collaborations between the two PIs 
  • CVs of the two main PIs. Each CV should be max 2 pages and include 
    • Name, title and affiliation 
    • PhD year 
    • List of ongoing project
    • List of current PhD students and postdocs 
    • List of 5 most important publications since 2005 
    • Link to Google scholar profile

The application should be written in English and uploaded as a single PDF file in EasyChair.

During the evaluation the aim is, to the extent possible, to respect a reasonable balance between the different areas in WASP and between the universities.


  • May 2: Call opens
  • Aug 10: Deadline short proposal
  • Sep 10: Decision about short proposals communicated
  • Sep 28: Deadline long proposals
  • Oct 27: Final decisions communicated

For further information on the expedition projects, please contact Karl-Erik Årzén, karlerik@control.lth.se, +46 46 2228782.

Call for WASP Industrial PhD student positions in AI

One part of WASP's initiative in artificial intelligence has a strong focus on machine learning and more specifically deep learning but includes also other areas of AI. The second part deals with increasing our understanding of the mathematical principles behind AI.

We are now offering up to 15 industrial doctoral student positions within AI at the five partner universities Chalmers, KTH, Linköping University, Lund University and Umeå University. In addition to the partner universities, applications for this call can include Örebro University.


  • April 11: Information & Q/A Stockholm
  • May 11: Application deadline
  • June 11: Decision
  • August 1: Earliest start
  • January 1 2019: Latest start

Top page top