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Investigator FCT call

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


I have read in the regulations that I may apply to one of three levels. I have doubts as to which level is the most appropriate in my case. May I apply to more than one level?

The identification of the level to which each candidate will apply must be made according to the terms of Article 2 of the regulations, and the choice is the sole responsibility of the researcher. Please note that in case the same researcher applies to more than one level, all applications will be excluded.

How is “independent research” defined and how can I prove it?

You will find the definition of independent research, referred to in no. 2 of Article 2 of the regulations, at page 9 of the Guide for writing and submitting applications which states: “Scientific independence is defined by criteria such as:

  • being a PI or group leader of a research team,
  • having obtained funding as principal investigator in competitive calls launched by national and/or international funding agencies.
  • Publications as senior/corresponding author and/or publications where the PhD supervisor is not a co-author.”

The evaluation of the scientific independence will be made based on to the information provided by the candidate and the supporting documentation required under Article 6 of the regulations.

Are there exceptions foreseen to the time periods characterizing the levels of this call (number of years after the award of the degree, period worked as an independent researcher)?

The time periods referred to under no. 2 of Article 2 of the regulations may be subject to the exceptions under no. 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the same Article, which refer to the maximum tolerance of 11 months and career breaks due to maternity and paternity or to long term illness.

I will obtain my doctoral degree very soon. May I apply to this call?

Unfortunately not. Only researchers who obtained their PhD degree at the deadline of the call are eligible to apply. Please note, however, that new calls are foreseen in 2013 and 2014.


What are the supporting documents I need to present in the application process?

The supporting documents required are those referred to in Article 6 of the regulations.

Which language should I use for my application?

Applications shall be made in English, as stated in Article 5 of the regulations and at page 8 of the Application Guide available online, as they will be evaluated by a panel of international experts.

Can I indicate more than one host institution?

Please indicate in the appropriate field online the institution that you intend to be your host institution.

In case partnerships are foreseen, they should be mentioned in the text field, together with the intended added value for the project.

Can I indicate a foreign host institution?

No. The host institution must be Portuguese, as this call intends to integrate researchers into the Portuguese Scientific and Technological System.

Can I apply, at the same time, to the “Investigator FCT” call and to other calls for post-doctoral grants launched by FCT or other funding institutions?

Yes. Please note that in case you are awarded both the contract and the grant, you will have to opt for one of them.

I am a holder of a post-doctoral grant, may I apply to the Investigator FCT call?

Researchers holding a post-doctoral grant may apply to the Investigator FCT call, as they do not have an employment contract.

I am a researcher employed under the Ciência program and my contract will terminate in the beginning of 2013. Shall I apply to this call?

A researcher whose contract will come to an end during the year 2013 is encouraged to apply to the present call. As a new call is foreseen in 2013, candidates whose contract will come to an end after 2013 shall apply under future calls.

May holders of an employment contract running until 2014, namely Ciência, apply this year?

As mentioned in the information available online, FCT strongly discourages applications from candidates that have active contracts until 2014.

Please note that new calls are foreseen in 2013 and 2014 and that restrictions on future applications may apply.

What is meant by “career development plan”?

The career development plan shall describe where you are in your career and state your short term, medium and long term career objectives. For more information, please see the application form.

General conditions

Is there a maximum number of candidates that may indicate one specific R&D unit funded by FCT?

No, each candidate shall indicate the host institution under the NSTS that he/she intends, as the evaluation criteria will be those indicated in Article 10 of the regulations.

May I keep another professional activity during the duration of my contract?

The Investigator FCT contracts are celebrated under exclusive dedication, with the exceptions foreseen under no. 3 of Article 12 of the regulations.

What criteria does the candidate have to fulfill in order to be eligible for the exploratory research project?

Only those researchers pretending to apply to the level foreseen under item a), no. 2 of Article 2 may apply to the exploratory research project. In any case, they have to prove that they do not benefit from any other funding under national or international projects equal to or greater than the amount to be awarded.


How does the institution associate itself to the application in the Portal de Ciência e Tecnologia (PCT)?

After the candidate has sealed the application, the institution indicated by the candidate as host institution will receive an email explaining all the procedures to be followed in order to confirm its association and to validate the application.

What is the time frame during which the host institution may associate itself to the applications in the PCT portal?

The institution may access all the applications under which it was indicated as host institution from the 9th of May and must confirm its support to the research projects and the career development plans until the 15th of May.

May a research center without legal personality be a host institution?

Yes, host institutions may or not possess legal personality. If the host institution does not possess legal personality, it must indicate in the form that will be available from the 9th of May, the institution with legal personality and capacity that may, in accordance with the items b) and c) of no. 1 and with no. 2 of Article 15 of the Regulations, sign the program-contract with FCT and guarantee, if applicable, that the initial funding will be fully allocated to the research project.

What is the declaration of acceptance of the host institution?

The host institution and, if applicable, the managing institution, must declare, in accordance with Article 15 of the Regulations, that it/they provide(s) all the necessary conditions to ensure the implementation of the scientific research project and the career development plan proposed and that it guarantees that the researcher will be granted the appropriate conditions to carry out his/her research project and to pursue a career as an independent scientist.

The institution may also, if it wishes so, attach an institutional commitment to hire the researcher beyond the period of FCT funding, in accordance with applicable law.

Must the applicant attach the declaration of acceptance of the host institution to the application form?

No. Once the candidate has sealed the application, the host institution receives an email explaining all the procedures to be followed in order to confirm its association and to validate the application submitted by the researcher.

Is the sealing of the application by the candidate the last step before an application to the Investigator FCT call may be validated by FCT?

No. If the host institution does not validate the application, this may imply the exclusion of the application, of which the candidate will be duly notified.

Will the candidate be informed when his/her application is validated by the host institution?

Yes. Between the 9th and the 15th of May, once the institution confirms its association to the application, the applicant will receive a confirmation email.

FCT may update the FAQs, if considered appropriate, according to the requests for clarifications received by email.