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Luxembourg National Research Fund


Developing strategic research and innovation project ideas

  • Career Stage(s):
    Leading Researcher
  • Funding Type(s):
    Research Programmes
  • Deadline:


The INITIATE programme is designed to support the initiation and development of strategic research and innovation  project ideas that will help make Luxembourg internationally competitive in priority domains. This phase of project  development should engage different public and private (if applicable) teams strategically in tackling larger  questions, which require focused and dedicated support that is cannot be addressed through conventional project funding.

Through INITIATE, the FNR wishes to back and guide the early-stage development of high-risk/high-reward strategic project ideas, up to the point where a solid project proposal is formulated that can potentially be submitted to FNR’s strategic programmes, such as NCER, PEARL, IPBG, a dedicated one-time call, or a bespoke “package” of funding  instruments.

View funded INITIATE projects


Project ideas should be mission-oriented and embedded in the national research and innovation strategy, involving  partners from diverse eco-systems and sectors. The proposed project idea should break away from established  frameworks and thought patterns and should hold the potential to produce innovative knowledge with a good  likelihood of significant socio-economic impact. Engagement with non-academic partners is essential: applicants are  encouraged to engage with their strategic partners and co-develop ideas early in the process. INITIATE proposals  should fall within the National Research Priorities and must also be a demonstrably institutional priority of the  submitting institution.

INITIATE projects should evolve into the implementation phase of strategic initiatives as planned for the subsequent execution period.

Successful INITIATE projects can benefit from further funding opportunities, and part of the goal is  to determine what is fit for purpose for each individual project. Thus, the expected outcome of an INITIATE project is a  coherent project plan that can be submitted as proposal for other funding adapted for the next steps of the project.

For example, INITIATE funding is a pre-requisite for submission of a NCER application. In this way, the FNR and  applicant team can co-design the NCER in an optimal way, to ensure the quality required for a NCER in Luxembourg. However, not every INITIATE should aim to have a NCER as a goal.


There is no call for INITIATE proposals. Following the initial presentation to the FNR, a decision will be taken which may result in a formal invitation to submit an INITIATE proposal. The FNR, together with other stakeholders (e.g. Ministries, Education or Health sector, Industry, Co-sponsors, etc…) can also suggest potential INITIATE challenges and missions to the research institutions.

  • The initial proposal must be validated and selected by the senior leadership of the applying research institution(s). In order to display the institutional backing, all INITIATE proposals must first be presented to the FNR in the presence of the consortium leader as well as one member of senior leadership of the applying research institution.
  • This proposal should be a concise summary of the idea, as well as the preliminary steps that will be undertaken to develop the idea into a fully-fledged project. While there is no template for this proposal, it should be around 10 pages long (and the FNR will request the resubmission of proposals that do not respect this). The proposal must clearly specify the addressed challenge or mission and its societal and economic relevance, outlining how it can be translated into research questions.
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