What are the advantages of the new Early Stage Programme compared to the Hertha Firnberg and Lise Meitner Programmes?

The planned model offers the possibility to submit applications on a rolling basis, more flexible funding amounts, an increased funding volume, and longer project durations compared to Meitner.

Do applicants have to be in Austria or have already conducted research in Austria at the time of application?

The territoriality principle does not apply to the ESPRIT Programme; therefore, there is no such requirement. However, applicants must find a mentor in Austria before applying, and the application can only be submitted by an Austrian research institute (PROFI).

Can I submit a previously rejected Hertha Firnberg or Lise Meitner proposal as a resubmission in the ESPRIT Programme?

Yes, resubmissions to different programmes are permitted, as in other FWF programmes, provided that they follow the procedures and meet the application requirements defined in the respective application guidelines.

If I am a principal investigator in the Lise Meitner or Hertha Firnberg Programme, am I excluded from applying to the ESPRIT Programme?

No, not in advance. However, in order to be eligible to apply, you must meet all the application requirements, e.g., you must have received your doctoral degree within the last five years.

Can I use the ESPRIT Programme as my return option after a long stay abroad?

Yes, since the territoriality principle is not an application requirement, you can submit an application from abroad.

Does the mentor have to be employed at the same institute at which the project will be carried out?

No, this situation is possible and practical, but the mentor can also be employed at a different Austrian research institute.

Can I submit an application before finishing my doctoral degree?

Yes, as in the past, provided that you meet the other application requirements, and that you will receive your official doctoral degree within the anticipated processing time (about four months). In the case of acceptance (before officially receiving your doctoral degree), you cannot begin work on the project until you submit a copy of your certificate of graduation.

Can I submit an ESPRIT application without a mentor?

No, a mentor and the submission of a corresponding career and mentoring plan are required.

May I have only one mentor?

One person must be the main mentor. Other people can take on additional mentoring duties, which has the advantage of providing you with a wider range of expertise.

Does the project need to include a budget plan?

If you are planning to apply for the “lump sum in the amount of €15,000 per year”, you do not need to prepare a budget plan. However, if you think it would be helpful in evaluating the proposal, you can include a description of the planned use of the funding requested in the application. If you are planning on applying for a higher funding amount of up to a max. of €25,000 per year, you must include a budget plan with a corresponding justification for requesting a higher amount of funding.

Can I simultaneously apply for a research project in a different funding programme?

Applicants for an ESPRIT project cannot submit parallel applications in the same or another funding programme for young researchers (Erwin Schrödinger, Elise Richter, or Elise Richter PEEK). However, applicants may request funding from the FWF in other funding programmes to carry out a separate research project, provided that the applicant meets the respective application requirements of the programme and does not exceed the applicable limit on the number of applications.

The FWF places particular emphasis in the ESPRIT Programme on the promotion of women. What does this mean exactly?

This means that the programme documents are designed to not disadvantage researchers who have taken career breaks and the requirements on CVs and the questions to the reviewers have been drafted with equal opportunities in mind. In the case of equal qualifications and equal quality of proposals, women will be given priority in the selection of projects. Women who are employed full-time receive a child allowance up to the third birthday of the child. In addition, the FWF provides women with ongoing ESPRIT projects with networking activities (annual workshops and networking meetings) and opportunities to increase their visibility.

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