FCT will open on February 15, 2023 the period for submission of applications to the 1st edition of RESTART Programme. This program aims to promote gender equality and equal opportunities in R&D activities and careers, by funding, on Call competitive, individual projects up to 50 thousand euros, with an execution duration of 18 months. The 1st edition of RESTART Programme has a budget allocation of 1.25 million euros.
The RESTART Programme aims to promote gender equality and equal opportunities, through competitive funding of individual R&D projects in all scientific fields, when carried out by researchers who have recently taken parental leave, including by adoption. Aligned with public policies in this area, RESTART also covers, with specific eligibility conditions, cases of shared parental leave, which privilege equality in the provision of care and the sharing of family responsibilities and lengths of leave.
Contributing to enable a competitive return to research activities under new circumstances, RESTART will support researchers in the pursuit and development of an original and innovative research idea, with the possibility of associating other human and/or material resources, in accordance with the funding made available and the expected execution time. This new funding instrument is also in line with the concerns and recommendations of the Council of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in this area, making Portugal one of the pioneering countries in this regard. With the commitment of the host institution, national and foreign researchers and stateless persons who cumulatively fulfill, at the deadline for submission of applications, the following requirements may apply (i) hold a doctoral degree; (ii) be an integrated doctoral member of an R&D unit, or have a contractual link with a State laboratory; (iii) have benefited, less than 12 months ago, from parental leave, including by adoption, of a duration equal to or greater than 120 days, or have benefited from shared parental leave, including by adoption, of a duration equal to or greater than 72 days.
The RESTART Programme also covers male and female researchers holding a contract of Studentship, and declarations of suspension of research activities funded by the respective Studentship, for a period equivalent to that mentioned above, may be submitted as proof of parental leave. For Studentships whose contracting institution is, or has been, FCT, and in order to simplify the application submission process, submission of this statement may be replaced by simply indicating the reference of the respective Studentship. Applications that include researchers benefiting as PI or Co-IR of ongoing projects funded by FCT as of September 1, 2023, will not be eligible.
The evaluation of the proposals will be done by experts affiliated with foreign institutions, independent and of recognized merit and competence, to be designated by FCT. The evaluation criteria are as follows: (i) scientific quality, innovative character and feasibility of the proposed research plan; (ii) merit of the applicant and adequacy of his/her profile to the research plan; and (iii) impact of the execution of the project on the career development of the researcher. The communication of the provisional results of the applications will be made until June 8, 2023.
The creation of this program was announced by FCT in the commemorative session of the World Science Day and the National Day of Scientific Culture, held on November 24.
The application deadline for the 1st edition of RESTART Programme runs from February 15 to March 30, 2023.