MTA Premium Post Doctorate Research Program

Hungarian Academy of Sciences Grant to gain premium post doctoral researcher status in MTA’s research network and Hungarian universities between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2020

2017. március 7.

MTA Premium Post Doctorate Research Program

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) calls for applications
to gain premium post-doctoral researcher status
in MTA’s research network and Hungarian universities
between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2020

Aim of the grant

The President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) is announcing a grant opportunity in the MTA’s Post-Doctoral Research Program to gain post-doctoral premium support to be used in MTA’s research centres and legal entity research institutes as well as Hungarian universities and Hungarian public institutions conducting scientific research according to their statutes (together: host institutes of research) for a fixed employment contract of 36 months for Hungarian and foreign researchers.

The grant aims to

• cater for young researchers the possibility of realizing their research programs in some of the best Hungarian workshops of science, who have earned a degree in science at some of the most well-known foreign or domestic universities, who have significant results on an international level, and highly significant research programs;
• help to participate successfully in other programs of excellence (e.g. ERC, Momentum [Lendület] program);
• support the mobility of the young generation of researchers: to draw in foreign researchers for domestic research, and to help young researchers returning from abroad be involved in the work of Hungarian places of research.

The grant is worth HUF 250 million annually, which is adequate to support 20-25 people.

Conditions of application

Researchers during the funding period can perform their work in the host institutes of research during the period of their support from September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2020. MTA Supported Research Groups and Momentum [Lendület] Groups cannot be host institutes.

The grant is open for both citizens of Hungary and other countries. Researchers meeting the following requirements may apply for the grant:

• Should be below the age of 40 as of September 1, 2017. (That is, born after August 31, 1977.)
• Holds a PhD or DLA degree obtained in a well-known university abroad or at home.
Applicants at the time of applying for the grant must have a doctoral certificate and authentic papers to verify this from the university they obtained their PhD degree. In keeping with legal regulations the starting date as post-doctorate must fall within 3 years of obtaining one’s doctoral degree. (Basic rules of employment as post-doctor are included in Government Regulation 156/1997. (IX. 19.).)
• Have spent less than 8 years in full-time researcher-educator-developer work.
• Experienced in research, this should be supported by their publication lists, citations, grant data etc.

Researchers bringing up small children, or researchers enjoying a leave of absence for raising children, or single parent researchers can request an allowance of 2 years in the age limit for each child. In the application, the applicant must certify the conditions for the entitlement so that the formal criteria can be duly credited.

Conditions of post-doctoral support

The premium post-doctoral research shall take place between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2020 as a full-time employment contract established with MTA’s Research Centres or independent legal entity research institutes, or in the case of a university or public institution host with MTA’s Office of Subsidized Research Groups. The present grant does not support part-time or other types of applications. A post doctor during his/her post-doctoral employment must cover at least 80% of his/her working time with the research work supported by the Premium Post Doctorate Research Program.

A post-doctor winning the Academy’s support cannot have any other post-doctoral support or other scholarship, including any other grant support that covers more than three months.

The applicant must declare in the application whether at the time of his/her post-doctoral job he/she is to receive other post-doctoral support. If the applicant has applied for other postdoctoral supports and is entitled to utilize another support, he/she must decide which support he/she opts for, and he/she must indicate this to the President of MTA. The Academy will terminate the MTA post-doctoral research support if it learns about the person winning further post-doctoral subsidies and utilizing them.

There is no possibility to delay the starting date of the post-doctoral support by more than 4 months.

A post-doctor in his/her scientific publications during the term of support must mention as affiliation the institution he/she works for (a university post-doctor must mention the MTA’s Premium Post-Doctoral Research Program as well as the university.)

It is an expectation from researchers supported by the program that by the end of their post-doctoral period they should obtain scientific results to be published in outstanding international journals. Furthermore, they should be able to apply – within their research area – for an internationally acclaimed grant for a project to be realized in Hungary, and – depending on their field of science – initiate cooperation to utilize their results with various enterprises in research and development.

Winners of the grant must prepare yearly accounts – until September 30, 2018 and September 30, 2019 – on the professional and financial aspects of their research work done on post-doctoral support. Professional partial accounts are evaluated by competent committees of MTA’s Council of Academic Research Institutes. Partial accounts can be qualified as „successful” or as „not successful”. In the case of a „not successful” qualification further support may be discontinued.

Over the two months following the end of the three-year post-doctoral employment, the subsidized person prepares a professional and financial account of the entire period as well as a communication account. Practical information about the required accounts will be provided two months before the end of the support period, and the reports are to be published in a volume of proceedings.

Reasons for disqualification

No support can be given to the applicant if
a) false, forged or misleading data have been provided or such statement made, affecting the content of the funding decision in effect;
b) necessary declarations defined by the present call for applications and related state budgetary regulations have not been made, mandatory documents have not been submitted, or declarations have been withdrawn during the process.

Requirements of format and content

Applicants shall submit their applications via MTA’s Internet-based application website (https://palyazat.mta.hu/premium_2017). The academy’s application website can be accessed through the Academy Database (AAT, https://aat.mta.hu), with the applicant’s login data, i.e. prior to submittal, applicants are required to register for a membership in the Academy Database and upload their most important details, also used for the application.

Parts of the application:

Pages to fill in on the application website

Applicant’s data page: main data of the applicant researcher, which are uploaded to the application website surface from the AAT. Provided that the applicant has uploaded their publications and citations data into the database of the Hungarian National Scientific Bibliography (MTMT), the link to this is to be given here as well. (The accuracy of updated data falls under the responsibility of the applicant.).
Application’s data page: significant application data with regard to the application, and application data not included in the AAT, among others the summary of the research concept (basic issues, objectives and importance of research) in a maximum of 1500 characters. The applicants are invited to name at least three researchers – possibly researchers of foreign countries or Hungarian nationals living abroad – who might be capable to review the application in line with high professional standards and who appear not to be in any conflict of interest. The applicant may, at the same time, name persons whom he/she would not like to have as reviewers of his/her application.

Documents to enclose as attachments

(The forms for attachments – declaration of acceptance, declaration of the applicant – can be downloaded under the Downloads option on the grant website of MTA homepage after 1st of February 2017. Following their completion, they should be signed and uploaded in PDF format under Attachments on the grant website.)

1. declaration of acceptance – the declaration is to be uploaded to the website bearing an original signature
In case of applications for the MTA research network, a declaration of acceptance of the research project signed by the head of the host institution (director-general of research centre, director of institute of independent legal entity) is to be filled in and attached; in the case of university applications, a declaration is to be signed by the leader or leaders authorised by the regulations of the respective university.

2. a detailed description of the research plan and the related scheme of work, given in annual brake-down, in approximately 15,000 characters (including spaces between characters, notes and bibliography as well – to be uploaded to the website bearing the applicant’s signature;

3. budget scheme: in annual break-down, with justification for expenses – to be uploaded to the website signed by the applicant;

4. professional CV of the applicant;

5. supporting reference letters of two experts on the research area – a domestic and preferably a foreign expert –: maximum two pages giving evaluation of the applicant’s scientific results, assessment of the planned research work, and its importance – to be uploaded to the website with original signatures;

6. list of publications and citations numbered and in categorical breakdown, provided that the applicant has not uploaded their data into the MTMT (mainly in the case of foreign researchers or those who have worked abroad so far; researchers from Hungary are advised to use the MTMT database);

7. copy of the authentic certificate verifying the applicant’s scientific degree (PhD or DLA);

8. declaration of the applicantto be uploaded to the website signed by the applicant;

9. further information considered necessary for the application (optional part of the application, upload for instance the copy of children’s birth certificates to qualify for age allowance, the copy of documents proving maternity leave, the copy of documents proving single parenting – sufficient in the original language, no translation required).

Formal examination of the application

The funder shall inform the applicant regarding acceptance of the application via email within 7 days of submitting it, or the application is rejected without a substantive examination.

Before acceptance the following are to be examined (formal examination):

1. the applicant meets the terms and conditions of the application, and they belong to the group of acceptable applicants specified in the call for applications;
2. the amount of the required subsidy does not exceed the maximum extent grantable, and the scale of support remains within the range of the maximum intensity specified in the grant pronouncement;
3. the documents meet the content requirements set in the call for applications, are undersigned and submitted by the given deadline,
4. the application materials submitted via regular mail and those uploaded electronically are entirely identical,
5. there is no reason for exclusion against the applicant.

Should the application prove to be faulty or insufficient, MTA Department of Grant Management invites the applicant in an email via their given email address to correct the deficiencies. Only one such occasion is allowed, which is to be submitted within 3 working days from the date of notification.

If the applicant fails to submit a sufficient correction to the application, or to respond to this invitation within the prescribed time limit, the application is rejected without a substantial examination.

Rejection without substantial examination also pertain to the following: (1) applications submitted after the deadline set in the call for applications, (2) applicants not eligible for the terms and conditions of the grant, or (3) applicants provide false, forged or misleading data substantially affecting the outcome of the decision.

The reason for rejection must be stated by the funder.

Means and deadline of submission

Applications are to be submitted in Hungarian and English regardless of the field of science. In case of legal disputes the Hungarian application shall be considered as legally authoritative. Applications are allowed to be submitted in English only if the post doctor applicant is not a citizen of Hungary and his/her first language is not Hungarian. In such cases the English application shall serve as the legally binding document.

Applications are to be submitted electronically. The declaration of acceptance by the host institution, the cost projections, the supporting letters, and the detailed description of the research plan, all bearing original signatures are to be mailed or handed in (in one copy) to the Department of Grant Management of MTA Secretariat.

Detailed information on electronic submission is available under the guidelines on the application website.

Applications are to be submitted from 08:00 CET 1st of February 2017 to 16:00 CET 14th of March 2017 (Tuesday) in electronic form via the online application system at https://palyazat.mta.hu/premium_2017. After completing the application process in the online application system, hardcopies of the application are to be sent via regular mail on the day of the deadline by the latest, addressed to the President of MTA:

MTA Titkárság Kutatási Pályázatok Főosztálya
1051 Budapest, Nádor utca 7. or 1245 Budapest, Pf. 1000

Terms and conditions of fellowship

A post doctor researcher will be provided a monthly salary of HUF 500,000 for a period of 36 months from 1st of September 2017 upon a contract of employment with the host research institution, or MTA Office for Subsidised Research Groups. The beginning of the support period may be postponed by a maximum of 4 months, in which case the head of the host institute is to be informed about it in written form not later than 31st of July 2017. Any type of suspension is subject to permission by the President of MTA. Failing to submit a request for permission regarding a planned suspension of the grant will results in the termination of the fellowship.

Furthermore, in order to achieve their research objects, successful applicants may also require support for material and accumulation expenses in the maximum annual gross amount of HUF 2.4 million, which can be spent on necessary research material, direct material costs of research, participation in conferences, travel and accommodation costs, etc. The claim for support for material and accumulation expenses is to be justified in the application as well.

Funding is provided by the Secretariat of MTA through yearly contracts with the host institute.

Following a successful application, the Secretariat of MTA signs a funding contract with the MTA research centre/institute provided that the accommodating institute is an MTA research centre/institute. If the accommodating entity is a higher education institute or public institution, the Secretariat of MTA signs a funding contract with the Office for Subsidised Research Groups. In the former case, the amount of support granted is provided via the MTA research centre/institute. In the latter case, the amount of support granted is provided via the Office for Subsidised Research Groups.

Judgement of content

The evaluation of applications will be conducted in two stages.

In the first stage, two Hungarian and/or foreign (if the topic makes it possible) specialists of the given field will prepare anonymous evaluations of the applications meeting the formal requirements. They are to clearly state whether they recommend the application to be supported and whether they find the planned budget justified. Should the two evaluations contradict each other, a third specialist will be involved. Results of evaluation will be summed up by the Department of Grant Management.

The professional evaluation of the applications will be conducted along the following key aspects:
• previous scientific achievement (with regards to applicants’ age), number of references, structure of publication activity, number of publications;
• importance, novelty, international significance of the topic;
• scientific significance of expected result;
• suitability of host institute in terms of profession and infrastructure;
• reasonability of budgetary plan;
• risk factor of the execution of research work, including ethical risk.

In the second stage of evaluation, based on the anonymous evaluations, a public jury invited by the president of MTA will assess the applications on three main scientific sections and will make a suggestion regarding applications to be supported, and their order, respectively. The jury will rank an extra 30% of applications, above the number of applications to be supported, as defined by the amount of funding. Total funding for all applications that will definitely be funded cannot exceed the announced budget of the call. The jury will make a proposal on the degree of support to the Council of Research Institutes (AKT). The results are finalised and put forward for decision to the President by the AKT.

Deadline of evaluation, announcement of results

Applicants will be informed of the results via electronic mail addressed to them personally until June 8th, 2017. The list of successful applicants, together with the titles of granted applications, and the names of the host institutes will be published on the MTA website (http://www.mta.hu).

Legal remedy

No legal remedy may be pursued against the decision regarding the result of the grant.

Objection

An applicant may submit an objection to the President of MTA if they consider the procedure of the grant, the decision making process, the funding contract, the provision of or the demand for refund of support being unlawful or not in compliance with the present call for applications. Objections may be submitted in written form within 10 days after receiving notification of the objected decision or failure, stating the grounds for objection. This is limited to one occasion during the grant procedure.

The objection is to include the reasons – the regulations of the violated law or grant procedure – that may serve as a basis for the supervision of the decision. The objection may be submitted within 10 days of notification of the objected decision or failure in electronic form to premium@titkarsag.mta.hu. The hardcopy of the objection is also to be sent by mail addressed to the President of MTA on the 10th day of notification of the objected decision or failure at the latest:

MTA Titkárság Kutatási Pályázatok Főosztálya
1051 Budapest, Nádor utca 7. or 1245 Budapest, Pf. 1000

In case there is a lack of justifiable grounds or exact references for the objection, it is rejected without a substantial examination. The examination of the objection covers the investigation of the objected issues only. The objection is to be examined within 15 days of receipt.

Further information on the grant

• the scale of support intensity is 10 to 100 per cent, that is, in a given application this proportion of the aimed project is covered by the granted support;
• the funder does not require a source for self-support,
• there is no application fee.

The funder informs applicants

a) that the Treasury operates a monitoring system regarding budgetary funding, and collaborates in synchronising the utilisation of budgetary supports. A support decision not registered in the monitoring system may not serve as a basis for valid funding. Providing data for the monitoring system, in case of funding through a grant process, the Funder makes sure that the data of the call for applications are published on the relevant website,

b) about the publication of the data regarding the facts and conditions of the legal contract, the provision of support, and reporting, determined by the Funder or occurring in connection with the utilisation of support, on the pertinent website. The data registered in the monitoring system may be deleted after 5 years from the last calendar day of the year the decision of support was made in.

c) The data not of public interest and personal particulars handled by the person or body preparing the call for applications, inviting applications, preparing and making the support decision in connection with the grant, the grant process, and the support decision are all open to the public on the basis of public interest and are not considered special data.

d) The Funder controls the utilization of support in keeping with the regulations of the Act on Public Finances, and according to the funding contract.

Further information on the grant may be required at MTA Department of Grant Management (premium@titkarsag.mta.hu).


Budapest, 31 January, 2017.




László Lovász
President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


For the original, signed grant announcement please click here.

To download the applicant declaration form please click here.

To download the cost projection excel file please click here.

To download the applicant accomodation form for MTA research network please click here.

To download the applicant accomodation form for university research network please click here.

Further information on the grant may be required at MTA Department of Grant Management (premium@titkarsag.mta.hu; telephone: +36 1 411-6334).