Must I have already been published in order to submit a project to the FWF, and if so, what are the requirements?

Applicants must show that they possess the research qualifications needed to carry out the project by means of a publication record commensurate with their career stage. Decisive criteria include peer-review, as well as the number, quality, and international nature of the publications. At the time of submission, at least two publications must fulfil these criteria.  Detailed information on the requirements can be found in the application guidelines of the programme. Should an applicant fail to meet one or more of the specified criteria, the applicant must include an explanation with the application. In cases of doubt, it is recommended to get in touch with the contact person of the „Strategy – Career Development department“ before submitting an application.

Can I submit an application before completing a doctoral degree?

Yes. Provided that you meet the other requirements for submitting an application, and if you will receive the official doctoral degree within the average processing time (approx. four months). However, if your fellowship is approved before you have the official doctoral degree, you cannot start your fellowship until you submit a copy of your doctoral diploma.

Can the research project also include a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are only funded if they are hypothesis-based and meet the research requirements that apply for all other FWF-funded research projects.

Is funding also available for short stays abroad?

No. The minimum stay abroad is 10 months.

Must the foreign research institution be an university?

No. What is essential, however, is that the applicant is provided with access to the infrastructure and the material and human resources necessary to carry out the project and that there is the possibility to publish the research outcomes in the applicant’s own name. This must be confirmed by the hosting research institution by means of the “Declaration by the Host” form.

Can a research stay abroad be conducted at several research institutions?

If it is useful and appropriate for the project, applicants may request a stay abroad at a maximum of two research institutions. However, the stay at the second research institution must last at least three months. In this case, the required documents must be submitted for both research institutions and be incorporated accordingly into the free-form project description (e.g., time schedule and work plan).

What should be included in the invitation from the foreign research institution?

It should be clear from the invitation that the host intends to support the planned research project and the applicant in conducting the project. The free-form letter (on the letterhead of the research institution) must be attached to the project description.  Please see the application guidelines for the exact requirements.

Can several letters of recommendation be attached?

Every applicant must submit one letter of recommendation from the Austrian research institution to which she/he will return after the stay abroad. However, applicants also have the option to attach a second letter of recommendation (e.g., from a person who can assess the applicant’s previous research career and her/his suitability for the proposed project).

What is meant by a “return option”?

The return to Austria, through which the expertise gained abroad is intended to find its way into the Austrian research community, is one of the main aims of the programme. This is why applicants, at the time of submission, must have a recommendation from an Austrian research institution that includes an appropriate expression of interest in the applicant returning to the institution.

For persons who have not secured a return option (leave of absence from an existing employment contract), there is the possibility to request funding for the return phase. The FWF recommends requesting these funds to ensure a guaranteed return option after the stay abroad.

How do you apply for the return phase?

At the time of submission, applicants need an affirmation from the head of the Austrian research institution about the return phase. The letter of recommendation from the Austrian research institution must also make reference to the planned return. The return phase is an essential component of the planned project and thus part of the project description. The project description should provide information on the planned project work or completion of the project in Austria and, optionally, other future research projects based on the fellowship project. The reviewers are required to assess the work plan for the return phase and the know-how transfer.

Can funding for the return phase be requested at a later time?

No. Funding for the return phase is part of the Schrödinger project proposal. A funding request for just the return phase at a later point in time (for instance, during the stay abroad) is not permitted.

What is the longest return phase that can be requested?

The maximum duration of the return phase depends on the length of the preceding stay abroad as part of the Schrödinger Fellowship, and a maximum of 6-12 months may be requested. Details on this can be found in the application guidelines for the Erwin SchrödingerProgramme.

Do I have to request a return phase if I have not secured a return option?

No. Taking the overall aims of the programme into account, a fellowship for a stay abroad can be requested without a return phase. However, at the time of submission, applicants must submit a recommendation from an Austrian research institution that contains relevant information on a return. Please note that the international reviewers are requested to assess, among others, whether the expertise gained abroad can be introduced into the Austrian research community.

Can I start my stay abroad at the foreign research institution before the FWF Board makes its decision?

Yes. However, in this case, applicants must cover the costs of travel and accommodation at their own expense and risk. The fellowship itself cannot begin until it is officially approved, and the grant money associated with it cannot be paid out retroactively.

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