Answers to F.A.Q for EUTOPIA-SIF second call

Host and co-host
  • In your application, you need to indicate at least one pair of hosting institutions: a primary host university research group and a co-host university for your internal secondment.  
  • Besides your first choice, it is strongly advised that you indicate alternative options to host your research project: for instance, if you indicate as your first-choice university A and B respectively as host and co-host, your second option could be B as host and A as co-host (so that you have the same research groups in different roles). For your third option, it is advised that you indicate host university different from the ones indicated in your first two options. 
  • Given capacity constraints at each university, it is highly recommended to choose different host universities in your three options.
  • You can indicate up to three pairs of hosting universities. This is not compulsory but could increase your chances of being selected. Although, the main element for the evaluation of your application will be the quality of your research project, bear in mind that each university has a limited number of positions available as the primary host.  
  • Once you have chosen your host research group, how can you find a co-host? You can go through the list of EUTOPIA research groups , contact your host group – which is strongly advised in any case to discuss the fit between your research project and the research environment of the group – and discuss with them the possible options for your secondment.
Nota Bene: not all the research groups in VUB are eligible for EUTOPIA-SIF programme. as HOST university.  Only the research groups listed on EUTOPIA-SIF website are eligible. This restriction is not applicable to your co-Host choice; you may choose any VUB research group  as co-host.
Support letter

In order to be eligible you have to provide a Support Letter issued by at least one the research group chosen as Host University.

The letter must be signed by an authorized person:

  • For CYU the letter must be signed by the Research Group director.
  • For UL, the letter must be signed by the prospective supervisor AND the dean of the faculty the research group is part of.
  • For GU, the letter must be signed by the Research Group leader.
  • For UPF the letter can be signed by the prospective supervisor or the head of the Research Group.
  • For VUB and for UW, the letter must be signed by the prospective supervisor.
  • The Local Programme Managers may be contacted if you have difficulties identifying the proper person authorized to sign.

The EUTOPIA-SIF program includes two types of secondments:  

An internal secondment  

In the EUTOPIA university that you chose as your co-host, for a duration of 2 to 6 months; 

It is also possible to split the internal secondment period between two different EUTOPIA universities. The application form does not allow you to indicate two co-hosts for a single choice – but you are welcome to discuss further your internal secondment options in the dedicated section of the application template.  

An external secondment  

For a duration of 2 weeks to 3 months. 

The list of external partners and institutions who have given their support is available on the EUTOPIA-SIF website here. The list is indicative; you are free to select other institutions (companies, public institutions or higher education institutions). You do not need to indicate your external secondment institution in your application: once enrolled, you will be assisted by your host research group(s) on your choice. The external secondment may also take place at a university outside the EUTOPIA alliance. 

During the secondment periods, you will still be funded by your primary host university. 
Research Groups
  • The full list of prospective host research groups is available on the webpage of the EUTOPIA-SIF programme. Identify, by looking for further information on these groups, which groups would be relevant for hosting your research project. 
  • You are strongly advised to contact these research groups to discuss your project. The heads of the research group should be able to help you identify possible supervisors for your research project. It is not mandatory to indicate a possible supervisor, but it is strongly advised. Anything in your application that shows a good fit between your project and the hosting environment would be an additional asset in your application. 
  • If you have further queries, you need support in contacting the group of your choice, or you don’t see a particular research group in the list, you are advised to contact the Local Program Managers in each EUTOPIA university. The LPMs will provide you with an orientation and will help you to assess whether a research group is eligible to host a EUTOPIA-SIF fellow or not. 
Nota Bene: not all the research groups in VUB are eligible for EUTOPIA-SIF programme. as HOST university.  Only the research groups listed on EUTOPIA-SIF website are eligible. This restriction is not applicable to your co-Host choice; you may choose any VUB research group  as co-host.
Key Research Areas
  • The Key Research Areas are purposely broad to accommodate various types of research projects. It is up to the candidate to define and motivate how your research fits into a particular research area and how can it contribute to a key societal challenge, including interdisciplinary approaches. 
Application and Selection Procedure
  • Applications can be saved and modified without being submitted and can also be reopened after submission. In case you encounter technical problems, please email  
  • External experts will review applications based on the material submitted; after the review round, shortlisted candidates will proceed with the interview stage, with a mixed committee consisting of members of EUTOPIA universities and external experts.
  • The evaluation criteria and weighting scores for the review and the interview stage can be found in the Guide for Applicants.  
  • Candidates will be notified at each stage of the evaluation procedure, whether they passed the selection or not. Selected fellows will be notified for the establishment of their employment contracts. 
Dates and deadlines
  • Selected fellows are required to start in September 2022. This will therefore be the appointment date to consider also for the application of the MSCA Mobility Rule. If you cannot be available to start your fellowship in the Fall of 2022, you should apply next year. There will be three more calls for the EUTOPIA-SIF program in the upcoming years. 
PhD Certificate
  • Candidates are required to hold their doctoral title or four years of equivalent research experience at the start of the interview stage, by 15 April 2022.  
  • If you are not yet in possession of a PhD certificate at the call dead line (10 January 2022), please upload on the platform (i) the highest degree together with a provisional PhD certificate — certificate on headed paper from their supervisor/academic institution attesting that the candidate has completed his or (ii) her PhD viva or will do so on the due date, before 15 April 2022; or provide proof of 4 years full-time research experience using the mandatory template available on the submission platform. 
  • In case (i), you will be asked to produce the official PhD certificate before being recruited. 
Previous Experience
  • The program is meant for early-career researchers to consolidate their experience and support their career development. No age or seniority conditions are required. 
  • Candidates who have not completed a PhD should demonstrate four years of equivalent experience using the mandatory template provided on the submission platform. 
Reference letters
  • Your reference letter should be written by someone (professor, lecturer, researcher, PI…) who knows your academic work, your research project and your skills. It can also be someone affiliated with one of the EUTOPIA universities. However, it is advisable to avoid asking the head/a member of the research groups you chose as prospective host/co-host, as they will be already involved in a different phase of your evaluation, giving their advice on the research project. 
Working Conditions
  • The selected candidates will have to be in capacity to sign a full-time contract with the hosting university from September 2022 for a fixed period of 24 months. Therefore, if the selected candidate holds a permanent position at the time of the fellowship start, he/she will have to resign from this permanent position. 
  • It is expected that the research project will be fulfilled and accomplished within the 24 months of the fellowship; therefore, the possibility of a fellowship extension is unlikely. There might be very few exceptions related to personal constraints, unforeseen/unplanned situations. 
  • Fellows are expected to be physically present at the host or co-host institution, to benefit from mentoring and supervision and undertake a dense exchange with the research group and comply with transnational mobility requirements. Remote working and access to the EUTOPIA-SIF programme will not be permitted.
  • The estimated gross salary is a fixed amount indicated in the Guide for Applicants, it can slightly vary from one university to another according to the costs of living, but it is not linked to the research subject nor other elements. If you have any further questions on the employment conditions of a given EUTOPIA university, you can contact the Local Program Manager.