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Career Development

The FCT Investigator Call

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22.04.2014 - The Frequently Asked Questions available in this section pertain to the 2013 FCT Investigator call.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last updated: 18 September 2013


I have read in the regulations that I may apply to one of three levels of FCT Investigator grants. It is not clear for me which level is the most appropriate in my case. May I apply to more than one level?

No. It is the responsibility of the applicant to choose the most suitable level to his/her career stage. Please note that if a researcher applies to more than one level, all his/her applications will be excluded.

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

Scientific independence is defined by criteria such as:

  • Being a principal investigator 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.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to provide objective information that may help the panel in assessing the applicant’s scientific independence. This assessment will be done exclusively based on the information provided by the candidate.

Are there exceptions to the time periods defined for the levels of FCT Investigator grant of this call (that is, number of years after the award of the degree)?

In this call, a tolerance of 11 months is given to applicants to starting grants. For example, more than three years after PhD completion may mean two years and two months. Likewise, less than eight years after the award of the PhD degree may mean eight years and ten months. In addition, exceptions will be made for career breaks due to maternity leave, paternity leave or long-term illness, as long as they are adequately justified.

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

No. Only researchers with more than three years of post-PhD experience at the time of application are eligible to apply, considering a tolerance of 11 months. Please note, however, that new calls are anticipated in the coming years.


What is a ResearcherID?

ResearcherID is an identifying system for scientific authors. This unique identifier number consists of alphanumeric characters. Each number contains the year you registered. On the ResearcherID website, authors are asked to link their ResearcherID to their own articles. On this site, users can update their profile information, build their publication list and choose to make their profile public or private. Please note that, in order for the reviewers to be able to use this information, you have to make sure that your profile is public.

This information will be used during the evaluation phase to circumvent author ambiguity that arises within the research community and will greatly simplify the work of reviewers.

My research project and career development plans do not fit in with the conventional titles of the boxes presented in the “Full description of the application” section. May I rename these boxes to better match my research project and career development plan?

Yes. There is no pre-established structure to describe the research project and career development plans, which may be different for different career paths and research profiles. For greater ease of the online application, the form contains predefined text boxes that you may find useful to describe the key points of your application. However, you can always choose to provide an alternative title to the text boxes that more appropriately describes its contents. In this case, please write the alternative title inside the corresponding text box, in the first line (ex: Alternative title: Performances and Exhibitions).

What supporting documents do I need to include in the application process?

The documents and other supporting elements required for the application are:

  • Certificates of degrees;
  • Research project proposal (online submission);
  • Career development plan (online submission);
  • Curriculum vitae (FCT/SIG-CV platform only);
Which language should I use for my application?

Applications should be in English, since they will be evaluated by a panel of international experts.

Can I specify more than one host institution?

No. Please specify the institution that you intend to be your host institution in the appropriate field of the application form. In case partnerships are foreseen, they should be mentioned in the text field, together with the intended added value for the project.

May I specify a foreign host institution?

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

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

Yes. In case you are awarded both the contract and a fellowship, you will have to opt for one of them.

I have a post-doctoral fellowship. May I apply to the FCT Investigator Call?

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

I am a researcher employed under the “Ciência” programme and my contract will end in 2014. May I apply to this call?

Yes. A researcher whose contract will end during 2014 is encouraged to apply to the current call.

I have a "Ciência" research contract. May I apply?

You may apply only if your contract complies with one of the following specifications:

  • Is a fixed term contract (in Portuguese, “contrato a termo resolutivo, certo ou incerto”), regulated by the Portuguese Regime de Contrato de Trabalho em Funções Públicas or the Código do Trabalho
  • Is an open-ended contract in which research activities are not included in the object or tasks;
  • Is not a work contract.
I have an open-ended contract as Researcher/Professor. Can I apply?

No. Only holders of open-ended contracts for positions in which the object and functional content do not include research activities can apply.

General conditions

Is there a maximum number of applicants that may indicate a specific R&D unit funded by FCT as host institution?

No. Each applicant is free to indicate any host institution under the National Scientific and Technological System. The submitted proposals shall be evaluated by independent panels of international leading experts in each research area, according to the following evaluation criteria:

  • Scientific merit of the applicant;
  • Career development plan;
  • Scientific merit, innovativeness and feasibility of the research project.
May I have another professional activity during the duration of my contract?

As a rule, no. Applicants that choose exclusivity cannot maintain other professional activities. The following activities are considered to not interfere with exclusivity:

  • Authorship rights;
  • Intellectual property rights;
  • Organization of seminars, conferences, lectures, workshops or similar activities;
  • Teaching activities at higher education institutions, as long as not in excess of 4 hours weekly, in a year;
  • Studies or opinions requested by the government, government commissions and working groups, or other public or private organisations, whether national or international;
  • Participation in committees or evaluation panels.

In case of full-time dedication, candidates may, within applicable legislation, maintain other professional activities.

What criteria does the applicant have to fulfil in order to be eligible for an exploratory research project grant?

To be eligible, the applicant will be required to show that he/she will not be principal investigator on any new or on-going FCT-funded project after 1st January 2014, regardless of the level to which the application is presented.


How does an institution associate itself to an application on the online platform “Portal de Ciência e Tecnologia (PCT)”?

After the applicant has locked the application, the institution indicated by the applicant as host institution will receive an email explaining all the necessary procedures to confirm its association and to validate the application.

What is the timeframe during which the host institution may confirm its association to the applications on the PCT portal?

An institution will be able to access all the applications for which it has been indicated as host institution from 11th September and should confirm its support to the research projects and career development plans until 27th September.

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

Yes. Host institutions may or may not have legal personality. If the host institution does not have legal personality, it should indicate on the form (available from 11th September) which institution will sign the programme-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 that it/they will provide(s) all the necessary conditions to ensure the implementation of the scientific research project and the career development plan proposed, and guarantee that the researcher will be granted the appropriate conditions to carry out his/her research project and pursue a career as an independent scientist.

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

Does the applicant need to attach the Declaration of Acceptance of the host institution to the application form?

No. Once the applicant has locked the application, the host institution shall receive 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 locking the application by the applicant the last step before it is validated by FCT?

No. If the host institution does not validate the researcher’s application, this may imply exclusion of the application from the call. The applicant will be duly notified if this is the case.

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

Yes. Once the institution confirms its association to the application, between 11th and 27th September, the applicant will receive a confirmation email.