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Eligibility conditions


Eligibility of applicants

  • Applicants must be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of MERIT’s call deadline. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered as postdoctoral researchers and will be considered eligible to apply.
  • A mobility rule will be applied to all categories of researchers. Fellows must relocate to the Czech Republic. Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Czech Republic for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline.
  • The same rules apply to the 4 types of fellowships:
    • Standard: Researchers moving within Europe or coming in from other parts of the world.
    • Researchers at risk: Researchers with the status of refugees or researchers at all stages of their careers who are experiencing threats to their life, liberty or research career, and those who are forced to flee or have been displaced because of such threats.
    • Career restart: Researchers who wish to restart their research after a career break (e.g. after parental leave, working outside research, etc.). The researchers must not have been active in research for a continuous period of at least 12 months within the 18 months immediately prior to the deadline for submission of proposals.
    • Reintegration: Czech nationals or long-term residents who wish to return and reintegrate in a longer-term research position in the Czech Republic.
  • Permanent employees (employees having a contract for an indefinite period) of one of the Hosting organisations are not eligible to apply for a MERIT fellowship to this Hosting organisation.


Eligibility of applications

  • The applications must be complete and must consist of  the:
    • Research proposal (mandatory Technical proposal template to be downloaded in the Template section) written in English and uploaded to the MERIT online application system. Proposals that will not fulfil the eligibility criteria form (use of the Technical proposal template, font size, margins, spacing) will be ineligible. Excess pages (10-page limit for the research proposal) will be disregarded.
    • CV of the candidate written in English and uploaded to the MERIT online application system (5-page limit, extra pages will not be counted).
    • All the online forms filled in: Eligibility form, Ethics Issues Table and Ethics self-assesment, if applicable, and Secondment form.
  • The applicants need to complete a compulsory online Ethics Issues Table in order to declare whether their proposed research activity deals with the research areas focusing on: human embryos/foetuses, humans, human cells/tissues, personal data, animals, third countries, environment & health and safety, artificial intelligence, other ethics issues. If the research proposal raises one or more of the issues listed in the ethics issues table, an Ethics self-assessment must be completed. This ethics self-assessment must include a description of the issue, the way the applicant intends to deal with them in order to ensure ethics compliance and any relevant documents (such as authorisation or necessary permissions) with the expected timing of obtaining them. All successful proposals, including those on the reserve list, will be subject to an Ethics screening or to an Ethics Review by the European Commission.
  • The applicants must complete an online Secondment form. The secondment can be carried out in the non-academic or academic sectors (private or public) in the Czech Republic or abroad. A list of more than 30 secondment opportunities is available at the MERIT website. Applicants can also suggest their own secondment.

Application process


Applicants must make sure they comply with the mobility rule, be ready to commit for up to 30 months for the fellowship, and relocate to the Czech Republic.

Applicants need to identify a suitable Hosting organisation and research group for their research topic. Get familiarised with the knowledge areas covered by MERIT: 1) Biotechnologies and Biomedicine, 2) Laser technologies, 3) Space technologies, 4) Sustainable energy and materials, and 5) Digitalisation, including Artificial Intelligence. Go through the research organisations that will be hosting fellow, as well as the open research groups (available in the MERIT website and Annex 1, and select one host organisation and the appropriate research group. The supervisors corresponding to each research group are also listed on the MERIT website. Applicants are welcome to contact host organisation to know more about their research infrastructure, environment and supervisors.

Applicants need to identify a suitable secondment. When the choice of host organisation and research group is done, the applicants are encouraged to identify a suitable organisation for a secondment.

If you wish to apply, click on Apply in the top right corner of this page.

  • Step 1. Register in MERIT Application System. In this step the applicants will provide their personal details.
  • Step 2. Apply for a MERIT fellowship.  Through the application system, applicants will complete the application forms and upload the required attachements (CV and technical proposal). Failure to complete these forms by the call deadline will result in the application being deemed ineligible. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to submit their proposal as early as possible.

Evaluation of applications


Phase 1 – written evaluation

For the written evaluation phase, specific selection committees corresponding to each research area will be formed of international and national peer-reviewers (pool of evaluators) who will be interconnected among themselves to ensure the principles of equal opportunities transparency, ethics, and intersectorality oriented on applied results. Three independent evaluators will be assigned to each admitted research proposal.

In order to better assess the relevance of the secondments in non-academic sector and the level of applicability of the research projects and to include the industrial point of view, the pool of evaluators will be composed not only by scientists from the academic sector, but also by experts from the industry, particularly from the R&D departments of high-tech companies.

The gender dimension and other intersectional categories such as age, race, nationality, sexual orientation or geographic location are carefully considered as part of the evaluation and selection process, despite the technical and life sciences focus of expected research projects.

Those candidates that reach at least 75% in the written stage, but a maximum of 30 candidates distributed among the fellowships, which means a maximum of two candidates per fellowship offered by each research group, will be invited for an interview.

Phase 2 – oral interviews

For the oral interview phase, an interview panel will be composed by international evaluators (including the evaluators of the proposal); an expert on gender/intersectional topics; the MERIT Programme Manager; an HR representative, or he director of the corresponding host organisation. Oral interviews will be held through one of the following online platforms ZOOM, Teams, Skype or a virtual showroom.


Important informations

Important dates

Call opening 3 April 2023
Deadline date 3 July 2023 16:00 CET
Eligibility check July 2023
Evaluation process September 2023 – December 2023
Results December 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of support can I get during the application process?

The Info Session for applicants was held on May 16. If you missed the session you can watch the video recording. In addition to that, online personal consultations are offered to candidates. During these sessions, the Programme Manager will guide you through the application process and answer your specific questions related to your application or the proposal template. Currently, there are 3 sessions scheduled in June 2023. Check the available dates in the Events. The Management Board of MERIT is also ready to answer all your questions sent by email to

If I do not get reply from potential supervisors / department, still is it possible to apply? Means, is the consent of potential supervisor is mandatory before application?

The consent of potential supervisor is not mandatory. You can apply without the explicit consent of the supervisor. However, you should get feedback from any supervisor involved in the first call regarding applicability/feasibility of your research proposal. If the supervisor finds your research project not feasible within the given research group, you should probably reconsider your application or contact another research group. You can also contact the main contact person of the chosen Hosting organisation  if the supervisor doesn´t reply. You will find the contacts in the section Research options - Hosting organisations.

Do I need to find first the approved supervisor before applying to MERIT?

Researchers can submit the application to any of the proposed research groups within the first call of the programme. All the presented supervisors are ready to host a MERIT fellow. Candidates should learn as much as possible about the chosen research group before they apply, in order to make sure that their research proposal is in line with the research group actitivies, projects and infrastructure. Candidates are allowed to contact the supervisor before applying but only for the framing of the research topic and confirming the applicability/feasibility of their project within the research group. The supervisors shall not be involved in the development of the content of their research proposal.

What is the evaluation criteria for research proposals?


Phase 1 – Criteria for written evaluation (research proposals)

Written evaluation criteria are based on excellence, impact, and implementation. All of the separate elements of each criterion will be considered by the evaluators in their assessment. Each proposal will be remotely evaluated by three evaluators in an individual and independent manner. After carrying out their individual evaluation, the evaluators will join in a consensus discussion in order to agree on a common position, including comments and scores for each award criterion in a Consensus Report. The aim of the Consensus Report is to give a clear assessment of the proposal based on its merit, with justification and clear feedback on the proposal’s strengths and weaknesses. The quality and consistency of the reports will be checked by the Chairs of each panel (research area).

Evaluation criteria for excellence, impact and implementation


1) Quality and pertinence of the project’s research and innovation objectives (and the extent to which they are ambitious, and go beyond the state-of-the-art). 2) Soundness of the proposed methodology (including interdisciplinary approaches, the gender dimension and other diversity aspects if relevant for the research project). 3) Quality of the two-way transfer of knowledge between the researcher and the host. 4) Quality and appropriateness of the researcher’s professional experience, competences and skills.


1) Credibility of the measures to enhance the career perspectives and employability of the researcher and contribution to his/her skills development. 2) Suitability and quality of the measures to maximise expected outcomes and impacts, as set out in the dissemination and exploitation plan, including communication activities. 3) Sustainability of the candidates’ research project in the Region. Opportunities to continue the research through regional/international collaboration with relevant industry or academic sectors.


1) Quality and effectiveness of the work plan and assessment of risks. 2) Relevance, feasibility and benefit for the research project objectives of the planned secondment. Quality of the secondment choice in terms of at least one of the following principles: intersectorality, interdisciplinarity or international mobility.

Phase 2 – Criteria for oral interview

For the oral part, the members of the interview panel will have access to the different Consensus Reports in order to ensure the consistency and equal treatment of the proposals. As the experts in the written phase, members of the interview panel will join in a consensus discussion after each interview to agree on a common position, including comments and scores for each award criterion, which will be formulated in a Panel Report that will contain a clear assessment on the candidate’s skills and abilities.

Criteria for interviews

Together with the invitation for oral interviews, candidates will receive the Consensus Reports including comments and questions. The goal of the interviews is to assess the candidates’ motivation for their research proposal, their capability to communicate effectively and their potential to lead a future team of their own. The interview will be held online and in English. To ensure standardisation and objectivity in the process, all candidates will have 30 minutes for the interview, including five minutes for the candidates’ presentation about their research topic and motivations to come to the Czech Republic, and 25 minutes for questions asked by the members of the interview panel. There will be a fixed set of questions for each category and they will correspond to a weighted score (scoring 0-5).

Final results

Each criterion for the written and oral stage will be scored out of 5 as shown above, including decimals. A weighted total score will be calculated based on the scores of the report from the consensus discussion (70%) and the scores from the oral interview (30%). For proposals with the same score, the following sub-criteria will apply:
  • Priority selection according to the scores they have been awarded for 1. Excellence, 2. Impact 3. and Implementation.
  • Assessment of the secondments and gender dimension in research proposals
  • The gender balance among the selected researchers will be taken into consideration.
  • Any further prioritisation will be based on geographical diversity.

What document(s) can I present to prove I fulfill the international mobility rules?

At the application process you don’t need to present evidentiary documentation. However, if you are selected the number and type of documents you can submit is very varied. The following would be valid: work contracts, permits, rental contracts, residence certificates, etc. Please note that each document you present must be an official document. And, if they are not in English, a copy of the original document must be provided and a translation into English must be attached.

Is there a guide to help me with the application process?

Yes, you can find the necessary information about the application process in the Guide for Applicants

How can I access MERIT Application System?

The Online Application System is available following this link: Apply

Is it mandatory to submit a proposal with a research group that appears on the MERIT website?

Yes. To see the complete list of research groups you can follow this link.

Are applicants from all nationalities eligible to apply to MERIT?

Yes. MERIT welcomes applicants from all over the world, as long as they fulfil the eligibility requirements.

Apply to MERIT!