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Daniela Kromrey: CAT2020@uni-konstanz.de

Constructive Advanced Thinking Theme Group

Incubated in the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study (NETIAS) in 2019 and supported by 11 Institutes for Advanced Study, the Constructive Advanced Thinking (CAT) initiative aims to foster networks of excellent early-career researchers dedicated to devise new ideas to understand and to tackle current or emerging societal challenges.

Aims of the Programme

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.

With few guidelines and a very light application process, CAT is designed to maximize the creativity of groups. The collaboration between different institutes in different countries aims at giving these groups access to a great variety of high-level thinkers and researchers to go beyond the current frontiers of knowledge and to develop highly innovative ideas on how to deal with very complex societal issues.

How it Works

CAT helps groups of 3 to 5 individuals, headed by an early-career researcher of any discipline, and possibly including PhD students, to work on their project for a duration up to 3 years. In order to enable them to engage in conversations and mature their ideas, the groups are given the opportunity to meet for short stays (i.e. maximum two weeks) in the participating institutes, and to be put in contact with the local fellows and research communities.

The proposals sent by the groups are examined by the participating institutes and reviewed by experts. In the spirit of a bottom-up and open call, the way the teams understand the call and design their proposal is a criterion of assessment, as is the societal relevance of the proposal, the quality of the team, its organization, the deliverables and the innovativeness of the approach to the issue at stake.

11 participating institutes from 8 countries

Your Competencies

  • Your project must address emergent societal issues.
  • The Principal Investigator must have a stable research position in a European higher education and/or research institution for the entire duration of the project. S/he must have obtained a PhD between January 2011 and December 2019.
  • Doctoral researchers may also participate. However, no team member can have obtained her/his 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 (stake-holders included) must be fully constituted, with CVs of all members.

We Offer

  • CAT will provide teams of early-career researchers 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.
  • CAT will cover travel and accommodation expenses for the team meetings/short work stays in the participating institutes. CAT will not fund salaries or stipends.
  •  During their stay, CAT teams will benefit from the institutes’ amenities and conviviality for work and exchanges.
  • Discussions at the institutes will provide a unique sounding board for innovative ideas and will give valuable feedback


Application Procedure

Apply via the online application portal until 1 September 2020, 3pm CET. Questions can be directed to Daniela Kromrey via e-mail: CAT2020@uni-konstanz.de


Successful applications will be notified in the beginning of December, 2020. Invitations start after 1 January 2021.