ESQ Discovery Programme

The new ESQ Discovery Programme Call is open from 15 September 2022 until 15 November 2022!

Goal of the new Discovery Programme

The goal of the new funding scheme is simple: be simple, be innovative, support the best young quantum researchers in Austria, creating a fast and competitive advantage and allowing to explore opportunities that would still remain unsupported in conventional funding schemes.

Who can apply?

  • Young researchers of ESQ member groups can apply. This includes doctoral students, postdocs and all senior scientists and assistant professors, but it excludes permanent (associate and full professors.
  • Applications can be submitted by members that are already part of any of the ESQ research groups listed on or by external applicants who want to join these ESQ groups.
  • The application requires the written support of the potential host and the host institution must confirm that the additional resources required (space, infrastructure, seat, etc.) are available.
  • Each person can submit only one discovery grant application at a time. A second application is only possible after delivery of a final report for an earlier approved project.

What can be funded?

The budget per project is between 20 k€ and 100 k€. Smaller projects will be slightly favored (see below). A discovery grant can support a wide range of measures that provide a scientific advantage:

a) Personnel costs (max duration 12 months):

  1. PhD fellowships: for the initiation or completion of ambitious PhD projects
  2. A postdoc fellowship for 12 months
  3. Master fellowships
  4. Technical support

    All fellowships are regular employments, with salaries following the personnel costs as published by the respective collective bargaining agreement. It is in the responsibility of the applicants to identify the appropriate amounts, since fellowships cannot be topped up at any later stage.

b) Consumables:
    This may include optics, coating, lab supplies, etc

c) Software licenses:
    Purchase or license up to 12 months unless the license cost is independent of the duration.

d) Equipment:
    Costs are paid in full, including tax and depreciation. If the fellow moves between Austrian institutions, the equipment can follow. If the fellow leaves the country, the equipment will remain with the last employing Austrian institution.

e) Travel:
    If it serves the purpose of learning an essential technique or establishing a crucial new collaboration:

  1. Journey of a researcher from Austria to a foreign country.
  2. Invitation of a top international researcher from abroad.

     Conference participations are ineligible costs, as they do not create by themselves new knowledge.

Duration of the project

The projects are meant to be fast and efficient. The financial support is meant to fill an urgent need and opportunity. The project must therefore be started within 3 months after being awarded at the latest and it must be completed within 12 months of run time. If more than 30% of the funds remain after 12 months, a cost-neutral extension of 6 months is permissible on request.

How to apply? 

The PDF proposal –  11 point, Arial or Calibri, 1.5 space 2 cm margins all sides – shall be sent to the ESQ office:  and shall include

  • State of the art (max. 1 page)
  • Goal of the project (max. 1 page)
  • Implementation within 12 months  (max. 2 pages)
  • What additional infrastructure and personnel will be used? (max. 1/2 page)
  • References (max. 20)
  • Curriculum vitae and list of publications, awards, merits (no limit)
  • Confirmation by the supervisor and/or dean that the project can be implemented

Schedule of the call

  • Call opens: 15 September 2022
  • Application deadline: 15. November 2022
  • Decision and approval: 1 February 2023
  • Start of the projects: after 15 February 2023

     Projects must start within 3 months after approval.


Scientific evaluation

  • Each application will be evaluated by 2 international reviewers
  • The reviewers assign points for:
    • Scientific innovation: 1-6 points
    • Chance of success for specific applicant, resources and time: 1-4 points

Random selection among top-rated projects

  • The total sum of maximal 20 points is increased by 2 or 3 points if the projects have a value of at most 50 k€, or 25 k€ respectively.
  • Only projects with at least 18/23 points are included in the final selection.
  • This ensures that
    • all projects will be excellent
    • among the equally excellent projects those with lower cost will have a higher chance, such that more excellent projects can be funded.
  • If too few projects fulfill this criterion to spend the available funds, the points can be reduced down to 17 in total points.
  • If the money can still not be spent, it will not be spent, since quality is the prime criterion.

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).



About ESQ


ESQ Postdocs

ESQ Discovery

 NEW CALL for Discovery Programme




ESQ Office
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)
Atena Zalbeik-Dormayer
Boltzmanngasse 5
1090 Vienna