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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q: If my research project is part of a greater multiannual project, can I use the overall project description as my own project description in the application form?
A: No. Your AFR project must be a research project on its own, with clear research objectives, hypothesis and workplan. If the AFR proposal is part of a multiannual research grant, you should describe the overall project and explain how your proposal contributes to the bigger project.
2. Q: Despite being mainly based abroad for my research, can I conclude my employment contract with a collaborating research institution in Luxembourg?
A: No. Your employment contract has to be concluded with your host institution (HI), i.e. the institution where you carry out the major part of your research. In case your work is predominantly carried out abroad and you collaborate with an institution in Luxembourg, then the institution abroad is considered your HI.
If your HI cannot conclude an employment contract or, if the conclusion of an employment contract with your HI abroad leads to a material disadvantage to you, then the FNR will offer you an AFR stipend.
3. Q: Does AFR cover additional salary costs such as a 13th month salary?
A: Yes, the grant amount can be used to cover all direct salary costs.
4. Q: My Host Institution does not offer employment contracts. Is it possible to receive an employment contract by FNR?
A: No, the FNR does not employ beneficiaries. See question 2.
5. Q: My Host Institution is ready to employ me without knowing whether or not the AFR grant decision will be positive. In case I receive the grant, will it be paid retroactively?
A: Retroactive funding is possible until the 1st of the month of the call deadline.
6. Q: I am interested in an AFR grant. Where can I find a Host Institution in Luxembourg?
A: If you would like to have more information about research institutions in Luxembourg, refer to the AFR Application Guidelines where you can find the links to the websites of the public research institutions in Luxembourg.
In addition, Euraxess Luxembourg ( http://www.euraxess.lu/eng) is a good source of information. You can find there a link to the website of the public research institutions in Luxembourg.
7. Q: Is it possible that my supervisor submits the reference letter after the deadline (e.g. because she/he is on a field trip)?
A: No. Applications, that are incomplete at the time of the deadline, are not eligible. The confidential reference letter should be sent by the supervisor directly to the FNR (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the deadline. It is your responsibility to start planning the research project and preparing your application well in advance in order to be able to submit all documents on time.
8. Q: Can I add any documents to support my application?
A: You may want to add few essential support documents for the reviewers to judge your application, such as letters of support by other scientists. These documents should be attached to the pdf of section “additional documents” of the online application form.
You should keep in mind that if your application is overloaded with unnecessary documents, the reviewers might ignore them.
9. Q: Can I top up my AFR grant with another grant? Is it possible to top up the FNR grant with funding from a foreign country? How much is the maximum amount?
A: An accumulation with another grant is only possible, if the other funding donator is aware of and agrees to the procedure. There is no restriction to which country the additional funding is coming from. For AFR beneficiaries, the maximum gross salary is indicated in the respective AFR Terms and Conditions.
10. Q: I would like to apply for an AFR Public-Private-Partnership Grant. Where do I find a template for the agreement on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that I need to submit?
A: The FNR does not provide a template for the agreement on IPR because each project has its specific requirements. The document (maximum 1 page) should summarise the essential terms of the agreement in common language. In particular, it should address how the authorship of the publications, and how the management and access to the data sets are settled amongst the project partners. In the case of a PhD project, the PhD thesis (or, at least, the results of the PhD study) has to be published in reasonable time after the PhD examination. In projects with a potentially commercial orientation, the possibility of using the IPR through patenting or others should be envisaged.
11. Q: Why is the “Joint Declaration” called “Joint Declaration” if it is only signed by the Host Institution?
A: You do not need to sing the Joint declaration, since you are the one submitting the document to the Online Submission System. The FNR calls it “Joint Declaration” because both, the Host Institution (signing the document) and the applicant (submitting the document), declare therein that they agree with the document.
AFR PhD questions
12. Q: I am working since 1,5 years at my research institution. Am I eligible to apply for AFR PhD funding?
A: It depends whether you have been working on your PhD or on other topics (e.g. as a technician). To be eligible for AFR PhD funding, your PhD project (and research on this topic) should not have started longer than 1 year before the call deadline. However, if you have worked on another position and not on your PhD in the same institution for longer than a year, you are eligible to apply for AFR PhD funding.
13. Q: Can I apply for PhD funding, even though I do not hold a master diploma yet?
A: You can apply for AFR PhD grant prior to obtaining your University degree. However, you cannot start the AFR funding until the FNR has received a proof of the conclusion of your degree.
You should also take into consideration that, if your project was evaluated in the spring call, then it will have to start until the 1st of January of the following year at the latest. If it was evaluated in the autumn call, then the latest start date will be the 1st of July of the following year.
AFR Postdoc questions
14. Q: I have graduated as Medical Doctor. May I apply for an AFR PostDoc grant?
A: No, applicants need to hold a Research Doctorate degree to be eligible for AFR PostDoc grant. Dr. Med may apply for AFR PhD grants instead.
15. Q: Can I apply for postdoctoral funding, even though I do not have my PhD diploma yet?
A: If you are about to finalise your PhD and wish to continue with a Postdoc, then you should only submit your application for postdoctoral funding if:
- you know the date of your PhD exam,
- your PhD exam will take place within 1 month following the call deadline.
If these conditions are not met or you do not pass successfully your PhD exam, then the application is turned down by the FNR without any further evaluation.
If you do not have your PhD certificate when applying, then you must join a statement by your supervisor who pledges the quality of the thesis and her/his confidence in the successful completion of the PhD.
In this specific case, retroactive payments are only possible up to the date of the certificate.
16. Q: I am preparing a Postdoc application and I am not sure about being able to have a translated version of the PhD certificate (in a language different from English, French or German) in due time. What shall I do?
A: If you do not have you PhD certificate translated into English, French or German at the deadline, please refer to the previuos question. Your application will be treated as if you do not have your PhD diploma yet and you will need to:
- Submit a statement by your supervisor who pledges the quality of the thesis and that you have already passed your PhD exam
- Submit a translated version of your PhD certificate within 2 months following the call deadline.
17. Q: There is redundancy of information that has to be provided, in particular the description of the training framework required in the training plan, in the confidential reference report for the applicant and in the description of the framework of the PDR project.
A: In our opinion adequate scientific and non-scientific training is a very important aspect for Postdoc and especially Postdoc candidates. Therefore a training plan is requested from the applicant and the future supervisor(s) should comment on potential needs/skills required that should be covered by the training. The description of the research framework should give an idea on how the project fits within a research group (or groups) and how the training and potential joint supervision is going to be organized. Hence, all these elements of the application are linked to training and should provide a complete picture from different points of view.
18. Q: Can I apply for a second AFR postdoctoral grant?
A: No. You can apply for consecutive AFR doctoral and postdoctoral funding, but not for two consecutive AFR postdoctoral funding periods.
19. Q: Which date counts for the PostDoc mobility criterion?
A: The date of the call deadline is the relevant date for applying the mobility rule. Call deadlines are published on our website (www.fnr.lu/afr).
20. Q: I receive an AFR Postdoc grant – may I apply for a Marie-Curie Action?
A: The AFR Postdoc scheme is co-funded by the Marie-Curie Actions of the European Commission. It is stated in your Grant Agreement whether you are a Marie-Curie Fellow or not. In general, you can only receive one Marie-Curie funding at the same time. However, you may apply for another Marie-Curie action, but in case of acceptance of the funding you have to opt for one or the other. Consecutive funding is possible, if you meet the eligibility criteria (especially the mobility clause) of the Marie-Curie Action.
Start of project
21. Q: After a positive funding decision, when can I start my research grant?
A: If your proposal has been accepted for funding, a contract (a Grant Agreement elaborated by the FNR) has to be signed between you, your host institution (HI) and the FNR. The Grant Agreement relates to the Terms and Conditions set by the FNR and specifies the rights and duties of the different signing partners (e.g. the reporting frequency, the supervision requirements, etc.). It also fixes the exact starting date of your research project/grant payments and the duration of the grant attribution. When fixing the start date, retroactive payments up to the application deadline can be taken into account.
If your project was evaluated in the spring call, then it will have to start until the 1st of January of the following year at the latest. If it was evaluated in the autumn call, then the latest start date will be the 1st of July of the following year.
22. Q: Which documents do I need to send to FNR to start my AFR grant after a positive funding decision?
A: In order to start your AFR funding, the following documents need to be sent to the FNR:
· The Grant Agreement signed by the FNR, the Host Institution and you
· In case of an employment contract with your HI, the FNR also requests a copy of this contract.
· In case of an AFR PhD grant, the certificate of PhD registration
23. Q: Are PhD students and Postdocs allowed to teach?
A: The FNR strongly encourages AFR beneficiaries to gain teaching experience as it is a good way to acquire multiple skills, such as strengthening of communication skills, experience in the contact with students, etc. However, AFR beneficiaries should not be used as low-cost teaching staff. The task of teaching must not constitute an impediment on your research activity and the subject taught should be directly related to your research field. Your teaching missions should not exceed 90 hours per year. The AFR scheme does not award supplements for your teaching activities.
24. Q: I have an AFR PhD/Postdoc grant and I have been on sick leave for more than 1 month. What shall I do?
A: If you have been on sick leave for more than a consecutive month, then you or your host institution have to send a written notification to the FNR, as soon as possible. If necessary, you may ask for the suspension of the grant and a possible extension of the funding period may be granted.
25. Q: I have an AFR PhD/Postdoc grant and I am planning a research stay abroad. What shall I do?
A: If you are planning to stay abroad for longer than 2 months, then you should contact the Programme Manager of your domain as soon as possible (preferentially by email) and ask how to proceed.
26. Q: I would like to change supervisor/host institution? What shall I do?
A: A change of supervisor is a substantial change of the AFR grant and needs to be approved by the FNR, otherwise the funding may be immediately terminated (see AFR Terms and Conditions).
If you are planning to change supervisor or Host Institution, then you should contact the AFR Programme Manager of your domain as soon as possible (preferentially by email) and ask how to proceed.
27. Q: I am planning to attend a summer school, a conference and non-scientific training seminar (on project management, communication, scientific writing and research ethics) during my PhD/PostDoc. Are the costs eligible for reimbursement through the AFR training allowance?
A: Yes. A specific budget (4000€/PostDoc and 6000€/PhD) is available to cover costs for training. The following costs are eligible:
- Travelling to and from the location of the activity
- Registration fees
- Accommodation for the duration of the activity
Please refer to the AFR Terms and Conditions.
28. Q: My AFR PhD Grant with is about to finish and I need additional time (up to 1 year) to successfully obtain my PhD degree. What shall I do?
A: PhD beneficiaries may request a single project extension for up to 12 months. The extension request has to be submitted in the last year of AFR funding, at the latest 3 months before the grant end date indicated in the grant agreement. Please note that the FNR terminates the AFR PhD grant at the latest 3 months after the PhD examination.
29. Q: My AFR PhD Grant is about to finish and I would like to apply for an extension. My employment contract with the Host Institution in Luxembourg will finish at the same time. Is it possible to apply for an extension via a fellowship?
A: In the AFR scheme, employment contracts are the rule. In Luxembourg, the AFR exclusively supports researchers having a work contract. The institution hosting a PhD candidate should ensure that it can offer a work contract for the full duration of the PhD project, i.e. 36 months. Therefore, extensions requests applying for a fellowship in Luxembourg are not considered.
30. Q: If I work part-time, do I also have to submit my intermediary reports at the same intervals than full-time beneficiaries?
A: Yes. The FNR requests an annual progress report, independently of full-time or part-time contract.
31. Q: I am preparing my (progress/final) report. Does my supervisor/scientific contact need to submit a confidential support letter to email@example.com?
A: The confidential support letter to be submitted by the supervisor/scientific contact together with the progress/final reports has now been substituted by a Project Appreciation Report (PAR) to be submitted by the applicant when completing the Report in the online system. The PAR should be written by the Supervisory Committee (“Comité d’encadrement de these”) in the case of AFR PhD grants, and by the scientific contact, in the case of AFR PostDoc grants.
Moving to Luxembourg
32. Q: I will be moving to Luxembourg. Where can I find help for my visa application?
A: Euraxess Luxembourg is a good source of information. Euraxess Luxembourg provides free of charge information and assistance to researchers on job and funding opportunities, visa applications, taxation, professional and daily life and mobility in Luxembourg.