CfA: Constructive Advanced Thinking (CAT) early-career scholars team projects

Andrey Demidov's picture
Subject Fields: 
Social Sciences

Incubated in the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study (NETIAS) in 2019 and supported by 12 Institutes for Advanced Study, the 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. 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.

How does it work?

CAT provides teams of early career researchers (three to five persons, possibly including a stakeholder) led by a Principal Investigator (team leader) in any discipline 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 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). Besides providing access to their infrastructure and intellectual environments, participating institutes support the teams by connecting them with the most knowledgeable and experienced local researchers and local research communities. This support enables selected groups to engage in conversations about their research ideas and projects and mature them. 

CAT does not fund salaries. CAT covers travel and accommodation expenses for the team meetings/short work stays in the participating institutes, and, in some cases, a small amount of other research-related expenses.

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

Eligibility criteria

The 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 2012 and December 2020.     
No team member should have obtained his/her PhD before January 2012. Doctoral researchers may also participate.

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 (stakeholders included) must be fully constituted, with CVs of all members named in the proposal.


Please submit your application documents in English as PDF files. Applications should include the following materials:

(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 (in this case, please include 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)    a PDF file with 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.

(7) Applications must be submitted via the on-line application form

All the inquiries on How to Apply can be made via e-mail: (Dr. Andrey Demidov).

The deadline for applications is September 1, 2021

More information on the conditions, eligibility criteria, application process, participating institutes and project selected in the previous rounds is available here

Contact Info: 

Dr. Andrey Demidov

Scientific coordinator

Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University

Contact Email: