ESQ Discovery Programme

Goal of the Discovery Programme

ESQ  supports new ideas, innovative research and high-risk projects, before they are sufficiently grown and competitive to succeed in established European or national funding schemes. Since DISCOVERY aims at innovation, it accepts the chance of failure if the risk is balanced by the expected gain. DISCOVERY does not support workshops. It expects that you come with an existing idea and require seed funds to implement it.

Funding: amount and duration

  • Projects shall not exceed a volume of 100,000 EURO
  • Projects shall not last longer than 12 months. Exceptions can be applied for.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • All ESQ Group Leaders (
  • Postdocs within the ESQ groups are eligible and encouraged, provided that their responsible ESQ members sign that the proposed project can be realized in their group and that the proposed project is compatible with existing work contracts.
  • PhD students within the ESQ groups are eligible in exceptional cases, provided that the ESQ member responsible for them signs that the proposed project can be realized in his/ her group and that the proposed project is compatible with existing work contracts.


A committee (SAC) of renowned international experts with high reputation in quantum science and technology will select all Discovery applications. These are:

  • Professor Susanne Yelin (Chair of the SAC), Harvard University & University of Connecticut
  • Professor Elisabeth Giacobino, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
  • Professor Anja Metelmann, FU Berlin
  • Professor Mio Murao, University of Tokyo
  • Professor Piet Schmidt, Leibniz Universität Hannover
  • Professor Ferdinand Schmidt-Kaler, Universität Mainz
  • Professor Marek Zukowski, Gdansk University

What costs can be covered?

Within the budget limit, the money is not bound to any special cost category and flexible, if it is used for the goals described in the project. Personnel, equipment, consumables, travel costs, software can be paid from it. Note, however, that all equipment will stay with the host institution when the contract of the candidate terminates.

How to apply?

Submit a single 5-page PDF proposal, 12 point, single line, Arial or Calibri containing 

  • State of the art (max. 1 page)
  • Vision of the project (max. 1 page)
  • Implementation: How can this be explored on the scale of 12 months with the proposed budget? If you plan to hire a PhD student, please outline how you will finance the remaining 2-3 years of his / her employment.  (max. 2 pages)
  • Resources: What local infrastructure and personnel will you be using in addition to that provided by ESQ? (max. 1 page)
  • Literature references (max. 20)

Proposals should contain all relevant information, but not exceed the length requirements by more than 20%!

Additionaly, please also let us have your CV and publication list: this is for Postdocs only, for ESQ members this information is already available.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801110.

ESQ has received funding from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF).



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Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)
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