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Call for Applications: Constructive Advanced Thinking

Call for Applications: Constructive Advanced Thinking

Constructive Advanced Thinking (CAT) is an open international call designed to foster interdisciplinary research teams of young promising individuals wishing to address emergent societal issues with fresh ideas. Deadline: 5 September 2019.


Aim of the CAT programme  is as follows:

  • Supporting international research teams, composed of early career researchers, to conduct fundamental research with the goal to provide solution-oriented ideas to address issues that put our societies at risk.
  • Fostering the transformation of these ideas into real-world action and of these teams into future leading networks of advanced thinking.

CAT projects should address an emerging societal issue, with the aim to chart pathways for action. Stakeholder organizations (e.g. policymakers, industries, NGOs) interested in addressing the issue with fundamental research are welcome to participate in a CAT project and can be represented in the team.

Following the policy of the participating institutes, the researchers retain the intellectual property rights to their work.


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) in participating institutes (see links below).

This call has been incubated in the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Studies (NETIAS) and also involves institutes beyond the network. The participating institutes will provide support to connect the teams with the most knowledgeable and experienced researchers and will help to valorize the obtained results through their legitimating channels.

The CAT selection committee will allocate stays of teams to the various participating institutes. Teams may suggest specific participating institutes, providing the reasons, but the final decision will be taken by the selection committee.

CAT will not fund salaries. CAT will cover travel and accommodation expenses for the team meetings/short work stays in the participating Institutes, and possibly a small amount of other research-related expenses.

CAT teams will benefit from the institutes’ amenities and conviviality for work and exchanges during their stays. Discussions at the IAS will provide a unique sounding board for innovative ideas and will give valuable feed-back.

At mid-term, the continuation of the team’s work will be subject to approval after examination of a short progress report.

At the end of their project, in addition to the organization of one or more final meeting(s) presenting the results, the CAT teams will be expected to produce a final report in the form of a text, video, website or other, that will be made public.

Are you eligible?

Your project must address emergent societal issues.

The Principal Investigator (team leader) must have a stable research position in a European (EU including UK and associated countries) higher education and/or research institution for the entire duration of the project. S/he must have obtained a PhD between January 2010 and December 2018.

No team member can have obtained her/his PhD before January 2010. PhD students are eligible.

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; nationality irrelevant).

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 support letters 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…).


The proposal should come in the form of

  • a 300-word abstract;
  •  a 3000-word max text OR a video of 15 min max (in which case include web link in abstract), describing the team’s research question and how it plans to address it (the motivation, the societal issues addressed and the interdisciplinary aspects of the project should be specified);
  • a brief work plan for meetings and activities with an indicative calendar and duration as well as research-related expenses (if any).
  • a short description of the team including a CV for each participant and an indication of where they will travel from to the meetings;
  • letters of support: at least two from academic researchers; additional letters from extra-academic stakeholders are encouraged.


Submit proposals at:


Selection and evaluation process

The proposals will be 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.

Selected projects will receive the list of institutes which offer to host them. This list is non-negotiable. Non-selected projects will not receive feedback on the reasons for rejection.

The institutes will discuss with the teams the dates of planned meetings.

A FAQ document is available here.


  • Deadline for applications : September 5, 2019, 3pm Paris time
  • Selection communicated to selected teams before November 30, 2019
  • Negotiation with host institutes (dates of meetings, etc.): December 2019
  • Invitations start after January 1, 2020

Participating Institutes

  • Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem
  • Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions, Montpellier
  • Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Amsterdam
  • Paris Institute for Advanced Study, Paris
  • Scienza Nuova, Torino
  • Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala
  • Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung, Bielefeld
  • Zukunftskolleg, Konstanz