CAT (Constructive Advanced Thinking) Call

CAT Logo 640x360

The aim of the CAT initiative is to foster networks of excellent early-career researchers dedicated to devise new ideas to understand and to tackle current or emerging societal challenges. Although the programme has a strong focus on the societal relevance of the projects, it is entirely blue-sky, bottom-up and non-thematic. CAT encourages a collaboration with stakeholders outside academia (industry, policymakers, NGOs…) who are willing to support or engage in innovative research initiatives. In order to engage in fruitful discussions and mature their ideas, the groups will be given the opportunity to meet for short stays in different participating institutes, and to be put in contact with their fellows and local research communities. With few guidelines and a very light application process, CAT is designed to maximize the creativity of research groups. This call has been incubated in the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study (NETIAS) and also involves institutes beyond the network.

Who can apply?

Requirements for applicants include the following:

  • Your project must address emergent societal issues.
  • The Principal Investigator (team leader) must have a stable research position in a European (EU as well as UK and associated countries) higher education and/or research institution for the entire duration of the project and must have obtained a PhD between January 2011 and December 2019.
  • Doctoral researchers may also participate. However, no team member can have obtained a doctorate before January 2011.
  • There is no specific requirement for representatives of stakeholder organizations.
  • Each team should include participants from at least two different countries (current workplace, including non-European countries; any nationality).
  • The team of 3 to 5 persons (stakeholders included) must be fully constituted, with CVs of all members named in the proposal attached.
  • Each team must provide two letters of support from internationally renowned researchers (who are not part of the team). Each team can also provide one or more letter(s) of support from stakeholder organizations (policymakers, industry, NGOs…).

What form does funding take?

CAT will provide teams of early-career researchers (three to five persons, possibly including a stakeholder) time and space for thought and discussion in the best research environments Europe has to offer. During a period of up to three years, teams will benefit from a series of short stays (i.e. between one and two weeks, two to three times a year, for a maximum of six stays) in participating institutes (see links below). Online meetings and digital research stays at the institutes are possible alternatives to onsite stays and can complete the work and time plan of CAT groups.

CAT will cover travel and accommodation expenses for the team meetings/short work stays in the participating institutes. CAT will not fund salaries.

The participating institutes will support the teams by connecting them with the most knowledgeable and experienced researchers on-site as well as digitally, and by helping them valorise the obtained results through their legitimating channels.

When is the closing date for applications?

  • Deadline for applications: 1 September 2020, 15:00 CET
  • Successful applications will be notified in the beginning of December, 2020
  • Invitations start after 1 January 2021

Terms and conditions of application

The terms and conditions of application can be found here: