Young Independent Researcher Groups: a Postdoc-Programme for Innovative, Interdisciplinary Teams

With the support of the Österreich-Fonds the FWF is announcing the “Young Independent Researcher Groups”, a cooperation programme between the ÖAW and the FWF. The FWF invites applications to the call for the “Expression of Interest (EoI)”.

Target groups

  • An outstanding international team of young researchers (postdocs from Austria and abroad max. 4 years after the doctorate)1 in all scientific disciplines2, especially in the humanities and social and cultural sciences, form a Young Independent Researcher Group at Austrian research institutions.
  • One researcher acts as the coordinator for the Young Independent Researcher Group; each researcher may take part in only one proposal for a Young Independent Researcher Group.
  • There is no limit on the number of proposals that can be submitted by a research institution. Each research institution can thus submit several proposals or participate in several proposals.
  • If there are any questions regarding the connection to a suitable research institution, potential applicants can contact members of the Executive Board of the FWF or the Austrian Academy of Sciences personally and seek the relevant advice.

Programme objectives

  • Promotion of young postdocs (0–4 years after doctorate).
  • Medium-term research cooperation (4 years) on a complex, current topic in mixed teams of at least 3 to max. 5 researchers3.
  • Research cooperation should be interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary on innovative subjects.
  • The research question is to be deepened or newly consolidated at at least two research institutions or two organisational units4; of a research institution.


Before submitting a project outline (Expression of Interest), the Young Independent Researcher Group must jointly agree on the following conditions. In case of an invitation to a full proposal it must be prepared accordingly and coordinated with the applicant and the participating research institution(s):

Research programme

  • State-of-the-art in research on which the Young Independent Researcher Group is based
  • Presentation of shared goals, questions and concepts in the Young Independent Researcher Group
  • Interdisciplinary5, innovative6 research approaches in the Young Independent Researcher Group’s research programme
  • Concise presentation of the innovative and cutting-edge character of the research topic
  • Description of the thematic coherence and the expected value of innovation through cooperation in the Young Independent Researcher Group:
    • a) by using a coherent and consistent terminology
    • b) by identifying the relevant characteristics of the problem
    • c) by presenting the aspects to be examined
    • d) by integrating the various disciplinary theories into a common theoretical approach
    • e) through the description of how the synthesis is formed – common language, theoretical basis, individual contributions
  • Analysis/concept for the gender-appropriate orientation of the research approaches where thematically relevant; analysis of ethical aspects.

Quality and composition of the research team

  • For each early-career researcher
    • a) Description of qualifications, presentation of expertise, the research potential, the available capacity and the scientific/scholarly vision
    • b) International cooperation
  • For the team
    • a) Presentation of cooperation and communication structure in the team

Further effects

Dissemination strategies and scientific communication: measures with regard to the profile of the Young Independent Researcher Group.

Lenght of funding

  • Maximum 4 years

Level of funding

  • Maximum €500,000/year; these costs include personnel costs for postdocs (head) and employed PhDs, postdocs, materials, equipment, travel, other costs and 5 % general project costs.
  • In addition 25% overhead costs will be provided

Expression of Interest (Eol) includes

  • The proposal form (incl. scientific abstract) and the presentation of the scientific qualifications7 of the participating researchers.
  • The applying research institution must submit this, in English, as a PDF file (not scanned) by e-mail to sabine.haubenwallner(at) and as a signed hard copy by post (date of postmark) to the FWF by 28 February 2018 at the latest.
  • The submission of this “Expression of Interest” is a condition of eligibility for a full proposal. By mid-March 2018, the FWF will invite all submissions that meet the necessary formal application requirements to submit a full proposal.
  • This full proposal must be submitted by 20 April 2018 at the latest on the basis of the guidelines forwarded with the invitation by the FWF.


Proposal form EoI(pdf, 1.2MB)

Description of scientific qualifications(pdf, 106KB) (per researcher)

1 The effective cut-off date is the date of the doctorate (doctoral dissertation date not before 20 Apr. 2014); foreign researchers can finance themselves from the project funds in order to work at Austrian research institutions.

2 Participating researchers must have completed the doctorate in a scientific discipline that is related to the intended project. Graduates of degree programmes in medicine in Austria are only eligible to apply if their degree programme was based on the curriculum N, O, Q 201 or N, O, Q 094 or N, O 790, Q 794 or N 090 (please specify in the academic curriculum vitae).

3 With a third of the under-represented gender based on the subject-specific representation of male and female researchers should be made possible;, p.25-26.

4 An organisational unit is an element of the development organisation that is usually displayed in the organisational chart; in the FWF context, according to the organisation plan examples of organisational units are, for example, faculties at universities ( or research units of a non-university research institution (

5 Definition: “Interdisciplinarity” refers to the integration-oriented interaction of people from at least two disciplines with regard to common goals and results, with the disciplinary perspectives being brought together to form an overall view.

6 Questions to the reviewers: How does the proposal advance frontier research and unconventional scientific approaches? Does the proposed project have the potential to question and/or change existing paradigms in the fields involved or beyond?.

7 The requirements for the scientific qualification correspond to the career path; the minimum requirements are the criteria of the FWF’s junior researcher programmes (Erwin Schrödinger or Hertha Firnberg). These must be verified by means of CV and publication list (see downloads section: presentation of scientific qualifications).