New director of Grants and Innovation Office

Ellen Rydberg

Ellen Rydberg is the new director of Grants and Innovation Office (GIO). She has a background as a researcher, financier, and have worked with regional development. Now, she wants to continue to develop GIO: s support in giving advice on external research funding, writing applications, managing contracts, and utilising research results. 

”Competition for external research funding is hard. Today, having a good research idea is not enough. You have to package the idea in the right way, think ‘impact’, and find the right financier. These are things we can help with, backing up our researchers in the application process”, she says.

Facts GIO 
The university’s internal support office for research applications (including feedback on applications), utilising research results, budget support, and contract laws. 

Is targeted at researchers and those with a newly awarded doctoral degree. 

Mainly gives support to applications for the national research funders The Swedish Research Council, Formas, Forte, and Vinnova, The Knowledge Foundation, and EU: s framework programme Horizon2020. 

If time allows, GIO can also help with applications to other financiers. 

Tip: Contact GIO in good time so they can give you better support. 


Ellen believes there are still researchers at the university who have not heard about the resources that GIO can assist with.

“But I also believe that the researchers who have been helped by GIO know which support they can receive and are happy to come back. Together with my colleagues, I’m looking forward to helping more researchers with their applications and questions about utilising research results.”

Researcher, financier, and working for the region

Ellen started her job as the director of Grants and Innovation Office on January 8. First a molecular biologist, she became a doctoral student in cardiovascular research at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. After her thesis defence, she worked in Oslo for NordForsk, an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers, as a senior advisor in healthcare working with research policy and research funding.

“There I learnt how financiers work with announcements, evaluations, and what a good application should look like. After four years, the step to becoming an advisor at the Grants and Innovation Office at the University of Gothenburg was not big”, Ellen Rydberg says.

“At the University of Gothenburg, I had an advantage having been a researcher applying for external funding. But it was also useful having been the financier, with knowledge about evaluation and the policy behind an announcement.” 

After six years as an EU coordinator responsible for EU support, Ellen went on to regional development at the Research and Development unit of Region Västra Götaland.

“I was in charge of the programme for international research and innovation collaborations and had the opportunity to work with completely new actors for me, such as research institutes, municipalities, the business sector, and different science parks.”

“The knowledge about Region Västra Götaland and their regional development work, as well as contacts with different regional actors, is something I will take with me in my job as the director of GIO.”

Welcome package and writing classes

Ellen Rydberg has no plans on making any drastic changes. But she has a vision:

“I want the ‘welcome package’ for all newly employed researchers to include a GIO introduction. Then, the researcher could make a long-term strategic research funding plan that suits their academic goals, together with our advisors. This would also give us at GIO the knowledge of which research areas we need to monitor”, she says.

She would also like the university’s research leaders to see GIO as a sounding board when making long-term funding plans, as well as a possible support when it comes to potential recruitments of postdocs.

“By using different funding instruments, such as the mobility programme of Horizon 2020 or MoRE 2020 at Region Västra Götaland, you could recruit postdocs to the university. If you have a potential postdoc that you would like to recruit, you can contact us and we will help you find financiers for postdocs.”

Ellen says that GIO will continue to offer the university’s researchers a Grant Writing Course, where the researchers on a number of occasions go through the different parts of a research application together, using their own applications as the basis.

“Going through each other’s applications gives insights not only in how others perceive what you have written, it also gives you inspiration to new ways of expressing yourself to conveying your message better”, Ellen Rydberg says.

Text Anna Kjellsson
Photo: Suss Wilén