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RESTART Programme

Overview and Objectives

RESTART Programme is a funding instrument, whose first Call opened in 2023, created with the aim of promoting gender equality and opportunities through the competitive funding of individual R&D projects, in all scientific fields, when carried out by researchers who have recently taken parental leave, including adoption. In line with public policies in this area, RESTART also covers, with specific eligibility conditions, cases of shared parental leave, which favors equality in the provision of care and the sharing of family responsibilities and leave durations.

The details of the 2nd edition of this program (launched in March 2024) can be found here.

With the creation of this program, the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), in addition to its commitment to promoting the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge, based on high international standards of quality and competitiveness, aims to promote gender equality in R&D activities and careers, inseparable from equal opportunities for the entire national scientific community.

Portugal is one of the countries in the world that has made most progress in the area of scientific research in terms of gender parity indicators, but there are still significant inequalities that need to be addressed. In the careers of researchers, and with greater incidence on researchers in the early stages of their careers, parenthood creates additional challenges, with impacts ranging from scientific production to the management of teams and projects, to the attraction of funding, and may influence career horizons and the planning of research paths.

Contributing to enable a competitive return to research activities under new circumstances, RESTART will support male and female researchers in the pursuit and development of an original and innovative research idea, with the possibility of associating other human and/or material resources to it, according to the funding made available and the execution time foreseen.

RESTART is also aligned with the concerns and recommendations of several international organizations, namely the Council of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which aim to promote a better conciliation between professional and family life for those engaged in R&D activities.

Recipients and Eligibility

National, foreign and stateless researchers who meet the following requirements at the deadline for submission of applications may apply, with the commitment of the host institution:

  1. hold a doctoral degree;
  2. be a doctoral integrated member of an R&D unit, or have a contractual link with a State Laboratory;
  3. have taken parental leave, including adoption leave, of a duration equal to or greater than 120 days (in the case of shared parental leave, including adoption leave, the applicant must demonstrate that they have taken at least 72 days of leave, either exclusively or shared), between the period of February 16, 2023, inclusive, and the opening date of the application submission period of this Call, inclusive. The minimum number of days required for each type of leave (120 or 72 days) must be reached between February 16, 2023 and the opening date of the submission period for this Call, regardless of whether it begins or ends.

In the case of researchers holding a contract of Studentship, they may submit as proof of parental leave a declaration of suspension of research activities funded by the respective Studentship produced by the hiring institution, for a period equivalent to that referred to in iii). 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.

In order that no potential applicant is excluded from the eligibility conditions of RESTART Programme with regard to counting the number of days, we kindly ask you to send any remaining questions to In that e-mail, if you wish, you may also request to be attended by a member of the FCT team via telephone/videoconference.

Application Submission Period

2nd edition: Between April 9 and May 14, 2024.

1st edition: Between February 15 and March 30, 2023.

How to Apply

Proposals must be submitted by filling out, in English, a specific form that can be accessed electronically on a platform to be made available by FCT.

For more details, see the 2024 (2nd edition) Call page. Details of the previous edition can be found on the page Call for 2023 (1st edition).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For a set of frequently asked questions and eligibility scenarios about this program, please consult the FAQs page of RESTART Programme.


Questions about this Call should be sent to