Am I eligible to apply if I am already the principal investigator of other FWF projects?

Yes. In the case of the START programme, you are eligible to apply regardless of other projects that are currently ongoing or for which funding has been requested. However, the START project described in the START application must differ significantly from the other projects. In this case, it is a good idea to include a letter in which you explain how the proposed START project differs from the other projects that are currently ongoing or for which funding has been requested. If your START project is approved for funding, you are only allowed to serve as the principal investigator of one other project in addition to the START project for the first three years after the START project has been approved.

May I submit an application from abroad and request funding for the costs of my own position as a grant-salaried principal investigator?

Yes. It is possible to submit an application from abroad and request funding for one’s own position (=grant-salaried principal investigator).

Does the FWF offer coaching for START applicants, or provide them with feedback on their START application or tips for the START hearing?

The FWF offers regular coaching sessions for groups in Austria. There it is possible to talk with FWF staff about the application process in general. However, since the FWF is itself a funding organisation, and its employees are involved in the decision-making process, specific information, especially on individual aspects of the content of the research proposal, could potentially compromise the fairness of the process.

Must I have already acquired competition-based third-party funding in order to be able to apply for the START programme?

No. This is a “should-have” criterion. The FWF also accepts applications from applicants who have not received any funding of this kind before. However, the reviewers will evaluate the applicant’s research track record as part of the decision-making process.

If I am over the age limit, what proof do I need to provide of time spent raising children?

The FWF counts three years per child towards the time spent raising children for children born after completion of the applicant’s doctoral degree. Men must present adequate proof of any respective parental leave.

If I am doing clinical work at a research institution, can I submit a START application?

Yes. In this case, there is no problem in submitting an application. In the section of the project description on the work plan and time schedule, you have the opportunity to show how the job has a positive influence on the project, or at least how it does not interfere with carrying out the project. However, it should be clear how enough time remains for a START project in addition to a potentially time-consuming clinical job.

When I submit an application for the START programme, why must I also apply for an ERC Starting Grant? Do I always have to apply for an ERC grant?

Since the aims of the START programme and the ERC Starting Grant are similar, the chances of success are higher for an application with the same content. However, you only have to apply for an ERC Grant if you meet the formal eligibility requirements (age limit, negative funding decision from the previous year, etc.).

When applying for the ERC Starting Grant, must I submit an application for the same project?

Yes. The content of the application must always be the same. However, ERC Starting Grants have different formal requirements (application form, project duration, funding amount), so the application must be adapted accordingly.

I have two PhDs/doctorates. Which degree counts towards eligibility for the START programme and an ERC Starting Grant?

The subject-specific degree counts for the START programme. In the case of ERC Starting Grants, the first degree is used as the basis of the decision.

For which cooperation partners do I need to include a respective letter in a START application?

The application must include a letter for each cooperation partner that is supposed to make an essential contribution to the success of the proposed project (i.e., without which the project could not be carried out in the proposed form), verifying this contribution.

May I also include cooperation partners from abroad and request funding for these costs?

You can, of course, include cooperation partners from abroad. However, since the FWF’s aim with the START programme is to support excellent research in Austria, funding for the costs of partners abroad can only be requested if a) a specific work order has been awarded to a partner abroad (evidenced by an appropriate contract), and b) reasons can be given why this specific research order cannot be carried out in Austria.

Can I request funding for publication costs?

Publication costs are not included in the application for the START programme. Funding for these can be requested subsequently as part of the “Peer-Reviewed Publications” (= journal articles, anthology articles, etc.) or “Stand-Alone Publications” (= monographs, anthologies, apps, databases, etc.) funding programmes.

What happens if you go abroad after receiving this grant?

If the stay abroad lasts longer than three months, you need the FWF’s approval. If you accept an appointment abroad, you will usually no longer have access to the grant money from the time of the move abroad. However, it is possible under certain circumstances (e.g., continued sufficient physical presence at an Austrian research institution, etc.) to continue the START project in Austria. In any case, you must check with the FWF well in advance of moving abroad whether this is permissible in your specific case.

If you accept an appointment in Austria, the project can usually continue after the FWF approves the change of research institution.

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