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

Target groups

  • An outstanding international team of young researchers (postdocs from Austria and abroad min. 1 year  to max. 5 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 (min. 1 year  to max. 5 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.


The proposal must be prepared as described in the guidelines, coordinated with the applicant or the participating research institution(s) and submitted by the applicant research institution:

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


    Via the FWF’s electronic application portal (elane)

    • Start of call for applications: 23 March 2020
    • Submission deadline: 30 July 2020, the possibility to submit the project by the research institution of the coordinator via elane ends at 2:00 pm (Vienna local time).
    • Proposals submitted after the deadline will be returned without review, regardless of the circumstances.
    • In English


    Electronic application portal

    1 The effective cut-off date, which refers to the date of the doctorate, is 30 July 2020. The date of doctorate must not be after 30 July 2019 or before 30 July 2015. Researchers must show that they possess the research qualifications needed to carry out the project by means of a publication record over the last 5 years commensurate with their career stage, which demonstrates their international visibility;

    2 Participating researchers must have completed the doctorate in a scientific discipline that is related to the intended project.

    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?.