Money is vital for the research and for the researchers, we need money to work, we need money to survive and we are evaluated also on the amount of money we are able to attract. Apart regional and national funding programs, there are some opportunities open to all the researchers (any nationality) working in any field which should be known by the beginning of the career so that anybody have the time to shape his career and to build the right proposal. I often receive email from young/old researchers asking me about these opportunities so I decided to collect here some quick info about them.
Marie Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/about/individual-fellowships_en) – EU Program open to all the researchers willing to develop their projects in Europe. No restrictions in terms of nationality and age, it is requested mobility in the way that the researcher must move from the country where he/she spent more than 2 years in the last 3 years. The grant is 2 or 3 years long depending on the chosen program and the budget is very generous in terms of salary and working allowances. It is very important taking sometime to deeply read the guidelines for submission and evaluation since the grant is very competitive (success rate usually about 15%) and anything looking as insignificant could make the difference! Even though you think the proposal is well done, always remember to ask suggestions and a quick revision before the final submission to the EURAXESS national contact point, they are able to adjust the proposal according to the evaluation parameters.
Society in Science, the Branco Weiss Fellowship (http://www.society-in-science.org/) – It is a private research fund and the proposal submission can be done just through institutions which are already partner with AXARF. There are no restrictions on the nationality of the researcher but he/she must be without a permanent academic position, must be younger than 35 years old and must have been awarded his/her first PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) within the 5 years preceding the submission of the proposal. The grant covers a period of 5 years with an important budget of 100.000 CHF per year. For the application you must prepare a motivation letter (1 page), the CV, the research proposal (4 pages) and a copy of your best 3 publications.
AXA Research Fund Fellowship (https://www.axa-research.org/) – It is a private research fund and the proposal submission can be done just through institutions which are already partner with AXARF. There are no restrictions on the nationality of the researcher but he/she must be without a permanent academic position and must have been awarded his/her first PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) within the 3 years preceding the submission of the proposal. The program does not fund “Research & Development” programs, research that would breach the AXA Group ethical guidelines and projects that are already underway. The grant covers a period between 18 to 24 months. The evaluation is in 4 steps: the light proposal (1.5 pages), full proposal (6 pages), Public engagement interview and Rebuttal. The grant is more competitive than the Marie Curie with a success rate of 7% the budget is smaller but the management of the project is definitely more flexible and you have a direct contact with the AXA staffs.
COST actions (http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions) – The COST actions provide short term grants with the aim of creating or reinforcing collaborations or to work in small projects to establish new research lines. There are COST actions in any field and anybody working or interested into the action can be part of the working groups by sending a request to the WG chair. Any action management committee plans certain topics to be deepened through Scientific Short Term Missions and these are funded with budgets ranging up to 3.000€ for periods between 15 days to 3 months.