Fellowships for outstanding postdoctoral researchers from all over the world in different Digitalisation and AI related areas!
Deadline July 3, 2023. Apply now!
The Central Bohemia Mobility Programme for Excellence in Research, Innovation and Technology (MERIT) is a regional programme for incoming mobility for 15 outstanding postdoctoral researchers from all over the world in technical and life sciences areas. It is a joint initiative of the Regional Government of Central Bohemia, 15 regional Research Organisations (ROs) as Host organisations (HOs), and 36 national and international SMEs, large enterprises, universities and high-schools as Associated partners for secondments, all coordinated by the Central Bohemian Innovation Center. Co-funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) – COFUND.
MERIT supports research activities and training of selected researchers in the following application areas of Digitalisation and AI:
- Metrology - calibration of geodetic instruments (Research Institute of Geodesy, Topography and Cartography)
- Spatial Science in Ecology and Environment (Czech University of Life Science Prague)
- Hydrological and Climate Variability (Czech University of Life Science Prague)
- Cognitive systems and neurosciences (Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University in Prague)
- Geoecology (Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences)
Applicants must be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of MERIT’s call deadline. There is no age limit. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered as postdoctoral researchers and will be considered eligible to apply.
A mobility rule will be applied to all categories of researchers. Fellows must relocate to the Czech Republic. Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Czech Republic for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline.
Categories of researchers:
- Standard. Researchers moving within Europe or coming in from other parts of the world.
- Researchers at Risk. Researchers with the status of refugees or researchers at all stages of their careers who are experiencing threats to their life, liberty or research career, and those who are forced to flee or have been displaced because of such threats.
- Career Restart. Researchers who wish to restart their research after a career break (e.g., after parental leave, working outside research, etc.). The researchers must not have been active in research for a continuous period of at least 12 months within the 18 months immediately prior to the deadline for submission of proposals.
- Integration. Czech nationals or long-term residents who wish to return and reintegrate in a longer-term research position in the Czech Republic.
Fellows will be recruited for a minimum of 24 months to a maximum of 30 months, due to the demanding level of transferable skills training and outputs expected, the applicants are encouraged to apply for the maximum period possible. The candidates will be able to freely formulate their own research topics and choose the appropriate Host Organisation (HO), and secondment organisation (SO), including supervisors.
MERIT fellows will be provided with an up to 30 months fully paid internationally recognised MSCA COFUND fellowship, employed by a research organisation located in the Central Bohemia region in the Czech Republic. The fellowships will include a mobility allowance, a family allowance (if applicable), travel allowance, research costs, and can provide a special needs allowance (a financial support for researchers with disabilities). The total value of a MERIT fellowship is €5,680/person/month.
The fellows will benefit from excellent training programmes in research and transferable skills and from other career development opportunities, as well as, interdisciplinary research options, intersectoral exposure through the secondments, and international opportunities to create partnership and networks.
The fellows will be supported in their research projects and in the achievement of their career development goals planned together with their supervisor. The programme is designed to welcome fellows in a family-friendly environment, offering support and guidance in this crucial career phase.
In order to develop the skills of new generations of scientists and meet the industry and research organisations’ needs, an ambitious combination of core and advanced research skills and transferable skills training will be offered aiming at career development and a mutual transfer of knowledge between fellows and their host institutions. The training programme will consist of:
- Core and advanced research skills: Development in advanced research skills within the MERIT fellows’ discipline/s and of core research skills beyond the fellows’ discipline/s will be ensured.
- Transferable skills: Will be offered as joint training sessions to all MERIT fellows. Training in transferable skills include e.g. the following sessions: Open Science/Open Access, MSCA Green Charter, Gender dimension in research, Leadership skills, Public engagement, Citizen Science, IPR Management and Patenting, Funding opportunities/Grant writing, Crowdfunding, Exploitation of research results, Spin-offs, Entrepreneurial/Communication skills.
Mandatory eligibility criteria:
- Eligibility form filled in (PhD degree, and Mobility rule).
- The research proposals must be written in English, and must be completed and submitted before the call deadline, through the MERIT online application system.
- Failure to complete the online forms and upload the files by the deadline will result in the application being deemed ineligible.
- Research proposals exceeding the page limit (10-pages) will be disregarded.
- No more than one application per candidate.
Admitted applications will be evaluated and approximately 15 fellowships in the first call will be awarded to successful candidates following a two-phase evaluation and selection process (written and oral interview). Considering the number of fellowships offered by each research group, the top-ranking proposal per each research group will be selected. The evaluation and selection process will have a total duration of 4 months approximately after the eligibility check is done.
The written evaluation criteria are based on excellence, impact, and implementation. Those invited to the oral interviews, the criteria include the candidates’ motivation for their research proposal, their capability to communicate effectively and their potential to lead a future team of their own.
Secondments will be an imperative experience. At least one secondment is compulsory for each fellowship. It should be relevant, feasible, and beneficial for the researcher and in line with the project objectives. The aim of secondments is to assure intersectoral, international or interdisciplinary experience for fellows, the transfer of knowledge and technologies from research organisations to industry or to gather relevant inputs and industry needs to research organisations.
The duration of the secondment is from 2 to a maximum of 9 months (Full Time Equivalent, FTE). It can be carried out in one or more institutions in a single period or divided into shorter periods. Short visits and stays of less than 2 months are not counted as secondments.
The MERIT programme offers more than 30 secondment options including large enterprises, SMEs, start-ups/spin-offs, international universities and local high schools. Nevertheless, other institutions can be freely chosen but must be secured by the fellows during their fellowship. The secondment will be carefully planned and implemented, taking into account the fellows’ personal living and family situation as well.
The deadline for applications is July 3, 2023. For further information on the participating research groups, secondment organisations, evaluation and selection process, and detailed benefits, please visit our website www.meritcb.eu and check this video to know why you should apply