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First call candidates awarded with the MERIT fellowship  

The evaluation and selection process of the postdoctoral fellowship programme MERIT has been successfully completed. A total of 67 applicants applied to the first call of the programme, which was open from April to July 2023, with 38 of them passing the eligibility check. 

The scientific evaluation was conducted in two rounds, a written evaluation and oral interviews. A three-member committee comprised of national and international expert evaluators began with written evaluation of the 38 eligible applications. After individual assessments, the evaluators were able to discuss among themselves in order to reach a consensus in each evaluation criteria (excellence, impact and implementation) and scores. Furthermore, the Chairs of each scientific panel were included in the process, checking the quality of the resulting Consensus reports and ensuring clear and consistent feedback for each applicant. 24 candidates who were above the minimum score of 75 % in written assessment moved to oral interviews. 

The interviews were conducted online in the presence of international evaluators and other invited guests. During the interviews, the candidates had to explain briefly their project proposals and motivation to move to the Czech Republic. Scientific discussion, communication, and the leadership of the candidates were the main criteria evaluated during the oral assessment. Each interview was concluded with a creation of the Panel report based on the common debate of the evaluators. 

After consolidating the final results of both phases (written and oral interviews) a 30-month MERIT fellowship was offered to the best 15 ranked candidates. The recipients have now one month to confirm the acceptance of the grant to the MERIT Management Board. Additionally, there is a reserve list of 8 candidates providing the opportunity for candidates with excellent results but not high enough to be part of the top 15. These candidates might receive the grant in the event that any of the selected candidates withdraw.  

All projects selected for funding including those in the reserve list went through an ethics screening carried out by ethics experts in all the programme’s research areas to address ethics concerns and the requirements to be monitored during the projects’ implementation.    

The successful candidates will start their fellowships at their respective Host organisations during the next year. The organisations that will receive a fellow include the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Ondřejov, the HiLASE and ELI Beamlines centers in Dolní Břežany, the Research Institute of Geodesy, Topography, and Cartography in Zdiby, the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics in Liběchov, the National Institute of Mental Health in Klecany, the Czech University of Life Science, the Institute of Thermomechanics of the CAS, the University Center for Energy Efficient Buildings of CTU, and the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of CTU. 

Congratulations to all successful candidates! Those non-selected candidates will have the opportunity to apply in the second call, which will be launched in January 2024. 

2 calls
30 fellowships
30 months

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