Selection process

The GNeuS selection process includes several steps, described in following paragraphs.

Photo credit: Bernhard Ludewig, TUM

The eligibility check is performed by the GNeuS Management Office according to the criteria discussed above. In case an application misses minor information, the candidate will be informed, and the application shall be completed within 3 working days, otherwise the application will be rejected, and the candidate will be informed by email.

Within the GNeuS Selection Panel, three experts will be appointed to the GNeuS ethical sub-group, in charge of assessing all submitted applications with regard to ethical issues. If queries or conflicts arise for some applications, additional independent experts will be involved. If the proposed research presents ethical issues, the candidate will be informed, and the necessary authorization shall be submitted by the signature of the contract. Without the necessary authorization the application will be rejected, the candidate will be informed by email and the first candidate from waiting list will be considered for the contract.

The GNeuS supervisors of the proposed secondments will be asked to comment on the applications they are involved with. These comments will be mainly technical, dealing, for example, with the feasibility of the proposed project, the duration of the secondment and IP matters, and will be used by the Selection Panel to gain a more complete overview of the proposed research plan and will be considered for the Criterion 3 of the Candidate application part of the first grade, in particular for the Research plan against planned resources and Quality and quantity of proposed secondments.

The following grades are used for the assessment during each step of the GNeuS selection process:

1:            Poor – The criteria are inadequately addressed, or there are serious inherent weaknesses

2:            Fair – Application broadly addresses the criteria, but there are significant weaknesses

3:            Good – Application addresses the criteria well, but a number of shortcomings are present

4:            Very Good – Application addresses the criteria very well, but a small number of shortcomings are present

5             Excellent – Application successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criteria. Any shortcomings are minor

The Chair of the GNeuS Selection Panel (external expert) will assign each submitted application, along with the technical comments of the local supervisors, to two members of the GNeuS Selection Panel, typically two scientific evaluators, among which a rapporteur is designated, plus one human resource expert that supports the assessment without grading rights.

A consensus for each application will be reached among the members involved by setting the grade of the submitted application, i.e. the first grade of the application. In case there are difficulties in reaching a consensus, additional member(s) may be appointed.

The applicants of those submitted applications with the first grade exceeding the threshold of 70%, i.e. 3.5, are shortlisted and invited for an interview.

Each shortlisted applicant will be interviewed by two members of the GNeuS Selection Panel selected according to their scientific, industrial, administrative and human resource expertise, typically including a representative of the MLZ partners. It is preferable that at least one member of the interview sub-group should already be serving the sub-group for the evaluation of the related submitted application. They will reach a consensus for each application by setting the three grades of the interview. The interviews will be organized using video-conference. During the interview, each applicant will be asked to give a short talk (15 min) on her/his research up to the present time and on future career perspectives, beyond the end of the GNeuS grant.

The best 19 applications (call 3) will be offered a contract, and parallelly a reserve list will be established and notified to the applicants.

The following criteria, listed in order of priority, will be used to rank ex-aequo graded candidates for the final grade as well as for the interview one:

  • urgent grand challenge topic
  • highest grade in the scientific excellence (criterion 1 of the candidate application)
  • highest grade in the candidate application
  • research in a scientific field under-represented in the shortlist
  • gender under-represented in the shortlist
  • highest grade in the interview (second grade).

During the whole selection process the applicant may file an appeal against a notified decision not later than 15 days after the notification by clearly reporting the clear reason for the redress request. The GNeuS Management Office will check on its eligibility; for example, the appeal is not eligible in case the candidate fails to reply within the proper deadline on a notification that minor information is missing in the application. In case of an eligible appeal, the FZJ ombudsmen will decide on the appeal and has the right to contact the applicant if required. If the appeal is accepted, a new evaluation by independent experts will be performed. The GNeuS Management Office commits to manage each appeal within 4 weeks of its submission.

The GNeuS Management Office will publish the funding decision on the basis of the list proposed by the GNeuS Selection Panel. The result of the selection will be notified to selected fellows by email and anonymously published on the GNeuS website approximately Mid May 2024.

Concurrently, each applicant whose proposal has been evaluated will receive by email his/her evaluation summary and

  • for the selection list (up to 19 fellows for call 3): an acceptance notification, together with all information regarding the Hosting Institution and contacts for the organisation of their arrival.
  • for the reserve list (up to 5 fellows for call 3): a notification of their presence in the reserve list.

Numbers of proposed fellowships and reserve list places are indicative. The MLZ Directorate  reserves its right to select a lower number of candidates.

If selected candidates do not acknowledge the acceptance notification within two weeks after publication of results, the fellowship is offered to another applicant in the descending order of the reserve list.

The reserve list will stay open for 6 months (until October 24).

If the proposed research and/or the candidate is subject to the authorization of an authority, the authorization shall be granted by the time she/he is due to sign the contract and the candidate shall provide all the necessary documentation requested by the hiring institution.