Call for applications: Grants for independent young scientists

15 October 2016


The Romanian Institute of Science and Technology invites applications for grants aimed at young researchers who wish to conduct, manage and lead an independent project within the institute. The call is open to all scientists, regardless of current place of work, citizenship or nationality. The grants constitute a unique opportunity for a transition from a postdoctoral position to independent research. The research projects will be funded with up to 550,000 lei (about 122,000 euros) for up to 2 years by UEFISCDI, a Romanian research funding agency.

This funding is mostly suitable for scientists working in fields that do not require complex laboratory setups, for which the required equipment and supplies can be purchased using the project's budget (e.g. theoretical or computational research in various areas of science and technology, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence and machine learning, bioinformatics, robotics, cognitive science, social sciences, education science, etc.). Our institute has significant computing resources and an experimental neuroscience laboratory; if your project would need shared access to this infrastructure, please mention this in your expression of interest. Our institute currently performs research on machine learning, neuroscience, and dynamical systems. While previously our research has mostly focused on neuroscience, the institute currently undergoes a significant growth in machine learning, with the two groups in Deep Computational Intelligence and Machine Learning and Optimization being expected to reach 20 people by the end of 2017, supported by about 4 million euros from EU funds. The institute welcomes new scientists from all fields of science.

The projects should comply with the following conditions:

- The principal investigator should be a young scientist who has got his/her PhD more than 4 years ago but not more than 9 years ago;
- The principal investigator and any other team member should be under the age of 41 years old;
- The project should nominate at least one team member, besides the principal investigator, who will work on the project;
- The project duration should be from 12 to 24 months;
- The maximum amount awarded for a project lasting 24 months is 450,000 lei (about 100,000 euros), except for projects whose principal investigator comes from abroad, for which the maximum grant awarded is 550,000 lei (about 122,000 euros). The maximum amount awarded for a project lasting less than 24 months shall be computed proportionally by reference to the 24 months.

It is considered that the principal investigator comes from abroad and is eligible for the larger grant if both following conditions are met:
- The scientist was an employee or a fellow of non-Romanian organizations, for an aggregate period of at least 24 months in the last 5 years, and
- The last contract of employment or fellowship outside Romania ended no more than 12 months before the deadline for submitting the application for funding (i.e., not earlier than January 10, 2016), or is still active.

Eligible direct expenses include personnel, equipment, laboratory supplies, materials, and travel. Personnel expenses include salaries for the principal investigator as well as for the other team members. Indirect expenses are 15% of the direct expenses. 

About 100 projects are expected to be funded, and the expected start date is July-September 2017.

Our institute welcomes young scientists who would like to apply for this funding and, if successful, will come to work full time in our institute, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, implementing the funded projects.

Scientists are invited to send us an expression of interest to lead such a project (in English or Romanian) at office@rist.ro, including a preliminary abstract of the project, a CV and a list of publications, or links to webpages including this information. Please send these expression of interests no later than December 11, 2016. 

Following the approval of the expression of interest, scientists will write the applications with the administrative assistance of our staff and will submit the applications for assessment to UEFISCDI. The applications should be written in English. The final applications should be submitted online, through uefiscdi-direct.ro. The submission will open on November 21, 2016. The deadline for submitting the final applications is January 10, 2017.

More information:

- Guide for applicants (in English - new).

- Application forms to be filled (in English): main application form, CV, previous scientific achievements. The CV and the previous scientific achievements will be published on the programme's website.

- The funding programme's web page (in Romanian).

Cluj-Napoca (commonly called just Cluj) hosts Romania’s largest university and boasts a rapidly developing IT industry. Cluj is the main city of Transylvania, which has been named by Lonely Planet as the top region to visit in 2016.

Cluj is Europe's friendliest city for foreigners, according to a study by the UK Office of National Statistics. Romania is no. 16 in the Internations best expat destinations of 2016, before Germany, USA, Switzerland, UK, and France. About 1100 French citizens, 800 Italian citizens and 500 German citizens live in Cluj (source). People living in Cluj are more satisfied with their city than those living in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona or Rome, according to a survey of the European Commission. Cluj has an international airport with flights to more than 30 European destinations.

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