MTA PREMIUM POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH PROGRAM

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) launches a call for applications to gain premium postdoctoral researcher fellowship in MTA’s research network and Hungarian universities between 1st September 2018 and 31st August 2021

Objectives of the grant and forms of support

The President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, hereinafter referred to as MTA) launches a call for application to gain postdoctoral premium support under the funding scheme of MTA Premium Postdoctoral Research Program to be used at research institutions of MTA’s research network (research centres and independent research institutes) as well as Hungarian universities and Hungarian public institutions conducting scientific research according to their statutes (together: host institutions) within the framework of a fixed employment contract of 36 months for Hungarian and foreign researchers.

The objectives of the grant are:
— to provide opportunity for young researchers with scientific degree from acknowledged foreign and domestic universities and with internationally acclaimed scientific results and research programme of outstanding quality to conduct their research at the best Hungarian scientific research centres;
— to offer support to successful participation in other programs of excellence (e.g. ERC, Lendület “Momentum” Programme);
— to support the mobility of the young generation of researchers: to draw in foreign researchers to conduct domestic research, and to help young researchers returning from abroad to be involved in the work of Hungarian centres of research.

In Annex 1 of the Act C of 2017 on the Central Budget of Hungary for the year 2018, under Chapter XXXIII “Hungarian Academy of Sciences”, Title 6 “Chapter-managed appropriations”, Subtitle 9 lays down the appropriated expenditures assigned to the Premium Postdoctoral Research Program for the year 2018, providing an expected budget of HUF 300 million to be used for the funding of 27-28 researchers with starting dates between 1st September 2018 and 1st January 2019.

Supported postdoctor researchers will be provided a monthly gross salary of HUF 600,000 for a period of 36 months from 1st of September 2018 upon a contract of employment with the host research institution, or MTA Office for Research Groups Attached to Universities and Other Institutions.

Furthermore, in order to achieve their research objectives, 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 equipment, direct material costs, participation on conferences, travel and accommodation expenses, etc.

Conditions of application

Researchers can perform their research during the funding period from 1st September 2018 to 31st August 2021 at host institutions. MTA Supported Research Groups and Lendület “Momentum” Groups cannot be host institutions.

The call is open for both Hungarian citizens and citizens of other countries. Researchers submitting the application shall meet the following requirements:
— Aged under 40 as of 1st September 2018 (born after 31st August 1978);
— Experience in conducting research to be proved by publication list, citations, grants etc.;
— Holds PhD or DLA degree obtained from acknowledged foreign or domestic university.
Applicants at the time of the application must have the doctoral certificate or the official certificate to verify the possession of doctoral degree.
— Under the provisions of the legislation the starting date of the first postdoctoral employment must fall within 5 years of obtaining one’s doctoral degree. Basic rules of the postdoctoral employment are included in Government Decree 156/1997. (IX. 19.). Applicants in case of former postdoctoral employment must provide evidence of this fact at submitting the application.

Researchers raising small children shall be granted an age limit extension of 2 years per child, maximum of 4 years, as an extension to the standard age limit or as an extension to the starting date of the first postdoctoral employment where prior to the submission of the application the researcher has received childcare benefit based on the Act LXXXIV of 1998 on Family Support or has received pecuniary health insurance benefits for childcare purposes pursuant to the Act LXXXIII of 1997 on the Benefits of Compulsory Health Insurance. Applicants must provide evidence of their eligibility for the age limit extension in the documentation of their application.

Conditions of postdoctoral support

The premium postdoctoral research shall be conducted within the framework of a full-time employment contract with institutions of MTA’s research network or in case of universities or public institutions as host institutions with MTA’s Office of Research Groups Attached to Universities and Other Institutions between 1st September 2018 and 31st August 2021. The present grant does not support part-time or other types of employment. Postdoctoral researchers during their postdoctoral employment are required to dedicate at least 80 per cent of their full working time (at least 0.8 FTE) to postdoctoral research work – involvement in other projects has to be planned that the overall FTE value cannot exceed 1 in any period during the Premium Postdoctoral Research Program.

Successful postdoctor researchers cannot receive any other postdoctoral grants or researcher scholarships. Applicants must declare at submitting their application that during their postdoctoral employment they do not receive any other postdoctoral grants or researcher scholarships. In case the Applicant has applied for further postdoctoral supports and is entitled to utilize them, they must decide which support they opt for and they have to notify the President of MTA. MTA will terminate the postdoctoral research support if it learns about that the Applicant has won further postdoctoral scholarships and utilizes them.

It is not possible to delay the starting date of the postdoctoral support by more than 4 months.

Postdoctor researchers have to indicate the host institution (institution of MTA’s research network, university or public institution) as well as the MTA Premium Postdoctoral Research Program in their scientific publications during the support period.

Researchers supported by the program are required to obtain scientific results by the end of the support period that are publishable in leading international journals. Furthermore, they are required to apply for international grants in their research field supported by the Premium Postdoctoral Research program to be realized in Hungary, or – depending on their field of research – initiate cooperation to utilize their results with various enterprises actively participating in research and development.

Successful applicants must prepare yearly reports on the scientific and financial aspects of their research work done during the relevant period of the postdoctoral support. Partial progress reports are to be evaluated by the relevant special committees of MTA’s Council of Research Institutes. The indicative qualification of the progress reports could be “successful” or “not successful”. In the case of “not successful” qualification of the progress report further support may be discontinued.

Final research and financial report as well as a communication summary shall be submitted within two months following the end of the three-year postdoctoral program. Communication summaries will be published by MTA in a separate volume.

Requirements of the application regarding form and content

Applicants shall submit their application via MTA’s internet-based application website (https://palyazat.mta.hu/premium_2018). The MTA’s application website can be entered by the username and password for Academy’s Database (Akadémiai Adattár – AAT, https://aat.mta.hu), which means that prior to application registration to AAT has to be completed, and the most important data for the application has to be submitted.

In case the applicant has not registered in AAT yet, registration shall be completed based on guide 1.

Parts of the application

Pages to fill in on the application website
Applicant’s data page: main data of the applicant, which are automatically transferred from AAT and these data shall be modified only in AAT. In order to include the most recent data in the application please update the data in AAT. Provided that the applicants have uploaded their publication and citation data into the Hungarian Scientific Publication Database (Magyar Tudományos Művek Tára – MTMT), the link is to be uploaded here as well.
Application’s data page: significant application data not included in AAT, among others the summary of the research concept (basic issues, objectives and importance of research) in maximum of 1500 characters. At the Application’s data please indicate two experts – one Hungarian and preferably one foreign expert – who could provide reference regarding the applicant and the applicant’s scientific work upon request. Applicants are also invited to name at least three experts – preferably foreign researchers or Hungarian researchers living abroad – who shall be eligible to review the application in line with high professional standards and who appear not to be in any conflict of interest. Applicants may at the same time name persons whom they would not like to have as reviewers of their application.

Documents to enclose as attachments

(The attachment templates – Host institution declaration, Applicant’s declaration – can be downloaded from MTA website or from Download option on the application website. Following their completion, they should be signed and uploaded to Attachments on the application website in PDF format.) It is sufficient to submit the declarations in Hungarian. Applicants whose first language is other than Hungarian shall submit the declarations in English.
1. Host institution declarationthe declaration is to be uploaded to the website bearing an original signature. In case of applications to MTA research network the declaration of acceptance of the research project signed by the head of the host institution (director-general of the research centre, director of the independent research institute) is to be filled in, signed and uploaded, in the case of university applications the declaration is to be signed by the leader or leaders authorised by the regulations of the respective university.
2. Research plan and detailed work plan in annual breakdown in approximately 15,000 characters (including spaces, notes and bibliography as well) – to be uploaded to the website bearing the applicant’s signature;
3. Budget plan in annual breakdown including the justification for expenses – signed copy to be uploaded to the website;
4. Professional CV of the applicant;
5. List of publications and citations numbered and in categorical breakdown, provided that the applicant has not uploaded their data into MTMT database (mainly in the case of foreign researchers or those who have worked abroad so far; researchers from Hungary are advised to use MTMT database);
6. Scanned copy of the applicant’s scientific degree (PhD and DLA) or the official certificate to verify the possession of doctoral degree;
7. Applicant’s declarationto be uploaded to the website bearing an original signature;
8. Applicants in case of former postdoctoral employment shall upload the document as evidence of this fact to “Other documents” under Attachments and record this fact in the subject field of “Other data in connection with the application” under “Data of the application”.
9. Further information considered necessary for the application (optional part of the application; upload e.g. 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 grantor shall send a confirmation of admission of the application via email within 7 days from submitting it or shall reject the application without evaluating it.

Before admission the following criteria are to be examined (formal examination): — the applicant meets the terms and conditions of the application;
— the budget plan does not exceed the maximum grant amount, and the funding rate is within the range specified in the call;
— the requested documents meet the content requirements set in the call, were signed and submitted by the given deadline;
— there is no reason for exclusion of the applicant.

Should the application prove to be incorrect or incomplete, the Department of Grant Management calls the applicant to remedy the deficiencies via the submitted email address. Such remedy may be allowed once, and the applicant must submit the correct and complete version within 5 working days from the date of notification.

Should the applicant fail to submit a sufficient correction to the application, or should fail to correct deficiencies within the specified time limit, the application may be rejected without further examination of its content.

Applications shall be rejected without evaluation if the applications were submitted after the application deadline set in the call, or in case the applicant is not eligible to apply or there is reason for exclusion due to legal regulations.

The grantor shall give reasons for the rejection.

Means and deadline of submission

Applications are to be submitted in Hungarian and English regardless of the research field. 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 postdoctor applicant is not a citizen of Hungary and their first language is other than Hungarian. In such cases the English application shall serve as the legally binding document.

Applications are to be submitted electronically. The host institution declaration and the applicant’s declaration bearing original signatures are to be posted or delivered (in one copy) to the Department of Grant Management of MTA Secretariat.

Detailed information on electronic submission is available in guide 2.

Applications are to be submitted by 16:00 CET 28th February 2018 (Wednesday) in electronic form via the online application system at https://palyazat.mta.hu/premium_2018 Following the submission of the application on the application website, the hardcopies of the above mentioned documents are to be posted to the Department of Grant Management of the Secretariat of MTA (MTA Titkársága, Kutatási Pályázatok Főosztálya, Nádor u. 7., H-1051 Budapest) on the day of the deadline of the submission the latest. Applicants are required to put on the envelope “Prémium posztdoktori pályázat 2018” (“Application for Prémium 2018”). Submission of the application is free of charge. For further information regarding the full application procedure applicants are requested to contact the staff of the Department of Grant Management of the Secretariat of MTA at the e-mail address premium [at] titkarsag [dot] mta [dot] hu or at the phone numbers below:
+36 1 411 6336 (social sciences and humanities)
+36 1 411 6376 (life sciences)
+36 1 411 6279 (mathematics and natural sciences).

Terms and conditions of support

The grant is non-repayable. There is no need to involve own resources, support intensity is 10-100 per cent. The funding is provided by the Secretariat of MTA through a contract of support .

Following a successful application the Secretariat of MTA signs a grant agreement with the MTA research centre/institute provided that the host institution is an MTA research centre/institute. In case the host institution is a higher education institution or public institution the Secretariat of MTA signs a grant agreement with the Office for Research Groups Attached to Universities and Other Institutions. 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 Research Groups Attached to Universities and Other Institutions.

The beginning of the support period may be postponed by a maximum of 4 months, in which case the head of the host institution is to be informed about it in written form not later than 31st July 2018. Any type of suspension is subject to permission by the President of MTA. Failing to submit a request for permission regarding planned suspension of the grant will results in the termination of the fellowship.

No support shall be given to the Applicant if
— false, forged or misleading data have been provided or such statement made, affecting the content of the funding decision in effect;
— 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.

Evaluation of the application

The professional evaluation of the applications will be conducted along the following key aspects:
— previous scientific achievements (with regard to the age of the applicant), number of citations, structure of publication activity, number of publications;
— importance, novelty, international significance of the topic;
— scientific significance of the expected results;
— suitability of the host institution from professional and infrastructural point of view;
— reasonability of the budget plan;
— risk factors of the research work, including ethical risk.

The evaluation of applications will be conducted in two stages. In stage one two Hungarian and/or foreign experts specializing in 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.

In stage two a jury invited by the president of MTA shall review the applications taking into account the anonymous evaluations and shall set up the ranking of the applications in three main scientific sections, and based on the above the jury shall make a proposal on the applications to be supported, their ranking and on the degree of support to the Council of Research Institutes (Akadémiai Kutatóintézetek Tanácsa, AKT). The jury shall rank 30 per cent more applications than the number of applications that can be supported from the available funding. Total funding for all supported applications cannot exceed the announced budget of the call. The results shall be finalised by AKT and put forward for decision to the President of MTA.

Deadline of evaluation, announcement of results

The final decision shall be made by the President of MTA within 90 calendar days following the deadline of submission. The call results shall be notified to the applicants via e-mail by 8th June 2018. The list of successful applicants, the title of their application and the name of the host institution will be published on MTA’s website (http://www.mta.hu).

Legal remedy

No legal remedy may be sought concerning the substance of the decision on the results of the call.

Information on how to lodge a complaint

Applicants may lodge a complaint addressed to the President of MTA, should they believe that a procedural element of the call procedure or of the decision-making concerning the award of the grant, or of the conclusion of the grant agreement or of the transfer of the state-funded grant amount or of the recovery of undue payments has violated in any way a legislative provision or has been contrary to what has been provided for in this call for applications. No complaint can be lodged concerning the evaluation of the applications. The complaint has to contain the name and address of the applicant lodging the complaint, the specification of the contested measure or of the instance of inaction, the description of the relevant facts, the identification of the specific legislative provision or provision of this call which has been allegedly violated by the contested measure or instance of inaction, and the signature of the applicant lodging the complaint.

The complaint may be submitted only once within 15 days following the receipt of the notification about the decision containing the contested measure or an instance of inaction via e‑mail to the e‑mail address premium [at] titkarsag [dot] mta [dot] hu and at the same time by post using the postal address of the Department of Grant Management of the Secretariat of MTA: MTA Titkársága, Kutatási Pályázatok Főosztálya, Nádor u. 7., H-1051 Budapest. Processing of the complaint shall be completed within 30 days following its receipt, whereby examination and revision may only cover matters which are being specifically contested in the complaint. Incomplete complaints, or complaints lodged after the above-mentioned deadline or complaints concerning the evaluation shall be rejected without further examination.

Further information

The grantor informs the applicants that
a) 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.
b) By providing data for the monitoring system, the grantor ensures that in case of funding through a grant process, the data of the call for applications are published on the relevant website, and all data occurring in connection with the utilisation of support or observed by the grantor, regarding the facts and conditions of the legal contract, the provision of support, and reporting, will be published 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 legal provisions on the right to informational self-determination set out what shall be considered as data of public interest. The data which would not qualify as such in the first place but are being processed by an individual or a body
— who/which is in charge of the preparation of the call for applications,
— who/which is in charge of the announcement of the call for applications,
— who/which is in charge of the preparation of the decision on the award of the grant,
— who/which is in charge of the decision-making, and which is related to the call for applications or to the application process or to the decision on the award of the grant, shall be considered data which are public on grounds of public interest, provided that they are not to be considered sensitive or special personal data.
d) The grantor shall check the use of the grant in line with the terms of the grant agreement, pursuant to the provisions of the Government Decree 368/2011. (XII. 31.) on the implementation of the Act on Public Finances.

Budapest, 12th January 2018

László Lovász
President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences