CAT (Constructive Advanced Thinking) Programme 2023

(travel and accommodation costs)

Reference number 2023/229.

The aim of the CAT initiative is to foster networks of excellent early-career researchers dedicated to devise new ideas to understand and to tackle current or emerging societal challenges. 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. In order to engage in fruitful discussions and mature their ideas, the groups will be given the opportunity to meet for short stays in different participating institutes, and to be put in contact with their fellows and local research communities. With few guidelines and a very light application pro-cess, CAT is designed to maximize the creativity of research groups. This call has been incubated in the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study (NETIAS) and also involves institutes beyond the network. Participating institutes in the 2023 call:

The collaboration between different institutes in different countries aims at giving these groups access to a great variety of high-level thinkers and researchers in order to go beyond the current frontiers of knowledge and to develop highly innovative ideas on how to address very complex societal issues.

Your responsibilities

    • At mid-term, the continuation of the team’s work will be subject to approval after evaluation 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 media, that will be made public.
    • In keeping with the policies of the participating institutes, the researchers retain the intellectual property rights to their work.

Your competencies

    • Your project must address emergent societal issues.
    • The Principal Investigator (team leader) must have a stable research position in a European (EU as well as 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 2013 and December 2021.
    • Doctoral researchers may also participate. However, no team member should have obtained her/his PhD before January 2013.
    • There is no specific diploma or age 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 (stakeholders 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 or research related expenses.
    • 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.

Please submit your application documents in English via our online application portal. Applications should include:

(1) a 300-word abstract;
(2) a 3000-word max project proposal (references not included in the count) OR a video of 15 min max (please in-clude the web link in the abstract), describing the team’s research question and how it plans to address it. The team’s motivation as well as the societal issues addressed and the interdisciplinary aspects of the project should be specified;
(3) a work plan for the whole project duration, including meetings (tentative dates and possibly preferred hosting IAS) and activities with an indicative calendar;
(4) a short description of the team
(5) CVs for each participant and an indication of where they will travel from to the meetings;
(6) letters of support: at least two from academic researchers; additional letters from extra-academic stakeholders outside academia are encouraged.

We look forward to receiving your complete application until 15 October 2023, 15:00 CET. Successful applications will be notified by end of January 2024. Stays in participating institutes will take place between January 2024 and December 2026. More information is available online.

Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply. They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact + 49 7531 88–4016). The University of Konstanz is committed to ensuring an environment that provides equal opportunities and promotes diversity as well as a good balance between university and family life. As an equal opportunity employer, we strive to increase the number of women working in research and teaching. We also support working couples through our dual career programme (



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