MISSION

Young People is Our Future Hope & Young Scholars are Indispensable Foundations for the Development of Science and Technology.

    The goals of the Einstein Program & Columbus Program

  • Provide sufficient research resources to young scholars and encourage them to attempt bold and creative research to produce breakthrough results.
  • Attract global excellent talents to participate in Taiwan academia to boost the development of science and technology.

The Einstein Program

The ambitions and potential of applicants.
How the project aims to advance frontier knowledge and provide solutions to problems in academia or the society.
The establishment of research group and its development plan.

The Columbus Program

The ambitions and potential of applicants.
How the project aims to advance frontier knowledge or provide solutions to problems in academia or the society.
The experiences of international collaboration and future plan toward leading roles in academic society.
The establishment of research group and its development plan.

FAQ

Notice: The Pilot Directions for MOST Grant for the Einstein Program and The Pilot Directions for MOST Grant for the Columbus Program are partially identical. Therefore, we use “Pilot Directions” to indicate the Pilot Directions for these two programs if the answer content bellow contains same rules for them.

Applicant Qualifications

Q1What is the reason of limiting the applicant's maximum age to 32 and 35 for the Einstein Program, and 38 for the Columbus Program?

A

These two programs are aimed to solve the declining numbers of young scholars in Taiwan, especially those funded by MOST program decreased annually. Therefore, age is considered a major factor, especially researchers under 40 years are in their prime. The age limit for both the Einstein Program and the Columbus Program is relaxed in 2018, and the applicant eligibility for these two Programs are now as follows: The Einstein Program aims at funding scholars under 32 years or under 35 and have held a PhD degree for less than 3 years; the Columbus Program is open to researchers under 38 years old.

Q2How do you define age? By the application date or the commencement of the project? Could the limitation be extended if the applicant had military service or pregnancy?

A
  1. The calculation regarding applicants'age and PhD degree awarded date is based on the date of the call for proposal announcement. For example, as the 2019 (the second call) and 2020 Young Scholar Fellowships call for application is announced on 13th March 2019, the applicants must be:
    • The Einstein program: Born on or after 14th March 1986; or born on or after 14th March 1983 and have obtained the PhD degree on or after 14th March 2015.
    • The Columbus program: Born on or after 14th March 1980.
  2. No extension given to applicants who had military services or experienced child-birth.

Q3Is it obligated for the applicants to have already work at a college or university in Taiwan when apply? Can adjunct employees apply? Could researchers from research foundations apply? Can a researcher who is jointly appointed by a research institute and a university apply?

A
  1. As per the Pilot Directions Article 3, the applicant shall fulfill one of the following requirements:
    1. Applicants shall work at a domestic public or private college or university at the time of application:
      • Applicants must be a full-time faculty member holding an assistant professor (assistant research fellow) or higher position of a domestic public or private college or university at the time of application.
      • Applicants must be a full-time faculty member or research fellows holding an assistant professor (assistant research fellow) or higher position hired by a public college or university as per the enforcement principles for hiring research fellows and staff hired with the national university endowment fund or by a private college or university as per mutatis mutandis the selection and hiring requirements in the enforcement principles for hiring research fellows and staff hired with the national university endowment fund.
    2. Applicants who are not hired by a domestic public or private college or university (including by an overseas academic/research institution) at the time of application: They shall fulfill the above requirements during project execution.
  2. Therefore, applicants who fulfill the above requirements can apply for these programs. Being a college or university faculty member is not a pre-condition for submitting applications. Noteworthy is that the applicants, who are not hired by a domestic college or university when applying, must be employed by a college or university in Taiwan prior to the project inauguration day in the next project year, once their application has been approved. In other words, the grant recipient shall be working full-time at a domestic public or private college or university during project execution.
  3. Applicants who are employed jointly by research institute and domestic public or private colleges or universities at the time of application shall produce the application list and the declaration of qualifications of the principal investigator, and institution cooperation undertaking before send them to MOST. The contract execution and grant disbursement of a funded project, reporting of grants, project audit and cooperation for execution institutions shall be implemented by domestic public and private colleges and universities.

Q4Both Einstein Program and Columbus Program seem to emphasize on technology, can researchers from humanities field apply?

A

There are no restrictions regarding the research area. Scholars from all research areas are welcome to apply to these two programs as long as the proposal makes ambitious attempts at innovations and crosses over the boundaries and is not confined by the prescribed framework.

Q5Is the applicant's nationality restricted?

As per the Pilot Directions Article 3, all qualified applicants are welcomed. There's no restriction on nationality.

Q6If I am about to graduate from doctoral program, can I apply?

A
  1. 1. As per the Pilot Directions Article 3 (2), applicants who fulfill the age requirement, hold a doctorate, and are not hired by a public or private college or university in Taiwan can apply. However, applicants must be hired at a public or private college or university in Taiwan during project execution.
  2. 2. As per Article 6 (2), new graduates may submit a project proposal and temporary certification of a degree when apply.

Funding and Application

Q1Can I apply for the Einstein Program and the Columbus Program at the same time?

A

Yes. However, the applicant should assess the application preparation time and other factors and be aware of Article 16-(2), which states that the same research project shall not apply for grants from multiple MOST programs. Violators will be treated in accordance with the MOST Guidelines for Handling and Investigating Research Misconduct.

Q2Some research projects need to pass research ethical review; is it needed prior to the application?

A

No. However, as per the Article 10 of the Pilot Directions of the Programs, the school shall submit required documents (including ethical review documents) within 1 month after the date of employment, when the fellowship recipient is officially employed by a university. Where the approval of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required in the research ethics review, the school may extend the deadline for submission of related documents for approval to up to 3 months from the date of employment. Under specific circumstances, this deadline may be extended further with prior MOST approval.

The Compilation and Administration of Expenditure

Q1Is there wage flexibility when successful applicants hire outstanding domestic or foreign research assistants under these programs?

A

Considering the variety of institutional characteristics and specialties, the principal investigator (PI) shall provide the contracted salary based on the types, job content of the hired assistants. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology Order No. 1060034160, which became effective since August 2017, it has invalidated the salary regulations based on education level. From August 2017, each institution shall set the practical standard in accordance with job content, the employee’s professional skills and performance etc. Therefore, the salary of domestic or foreign assistances is subject to the wage regulation of the school where the successful applicants executing their projects.

Q2Should the remaining balance of the program grant be returned to MOST?

A

As per Article 13 (3), the balance, if any, of a research project grant shall be returned to MOST.

Research Plan

Q1Can I apply for integrated research project? Can I have a Co-PI or assistant investigator?

A

The purpose of the programs is to cultivate and attract outstanding young scholars. These programs are designed for individual researches with no Co-PI, however, assistant researchers are allowed.

Q2Are there any restrictions on proposal length and format of the Einstein Program and the Columbus Program?

A

There's no limitation of pages and format at our online application system; however, applicants shall provide their projects based on the suggested pages by each research field.

Q3What are the selection criteria for the Einstein Program?

A
  1. The Einstein Program encourages young scholars to emulate Einstein who envisions fearlessly, purses knowledge in its own accord, proposes the spirits of epochal theories, step out from me too project. We also encourage young scholars to propose innovative conception and practices, which could be the extension of the current research field or propose scientific methods concerning unsolved problems, stimulate creativity and produce breaking through research results.
  2. 2. As per the foci of review in the Einstein Program Pilot Direction Article 7 (2):
    • Applicants must demonstrate their ambition, macroscopic view, and potential toward research.
    • The research aim involves science or social topics awaiting a solution and with a theoretical background.
    • Planning for establishing and cultivating a research team.
  3. >

Q4What are the selection criteria of the Columbus Program?

A
  1. The Columbus Program encourages young scholars to emulate Columbus and step out of the comfort zone to explore the vast unknown world bravely and discover the spirit of the New World. They should invest proactive thinking research project to seek excellence continuously. At the same time, it encourages international research collaboration. At the beginning of research career, young scholars plan step by step and receive the position of international superiority so that young scholars could obtain the right to speak and influence among international academia communities.
  2. As per the Pilot Directions for MOST Grant for the Columbus Article 7, (2), you could strengthen the foci point:
    1. The ambitions and potential of applicants.
    2. How the project aims to advance frontier knowledge or provide solutions to problems in academia or the society.
    3. The experiences of international collaboration and future plan toward leading roles in academic society.
    4. The establishment of research group and its development plan.

International Cooperation

Q1Is an international cooperation contract or agreement required prior to cooperating with foreign organizations?

A

Only the international cooperation planning and communication progress related documents are needed. International cooperation contracts or agreements are not required.

Q2Are there any restrictions on the collaboration partners (such as age)? Can foreign professors and teams come to Taiwan for cooperation?

A
  1. The objects of international cooperation are put forward according to the requirements of the project without any restriction.
  2. International cooperation is not limited to the PI going abroad, but also that PI can invite foreign professors and teams to come to Taiwan for cooperation.

Q3The Einstein program and Columbus program have a limitation for the maximum period of overseas sojourn of a principal investigator for project execution, which is 1/3 and 1/2 of the total project length, respectively. However, are the same condition applied to the postdoctoral fellows or assistants hired by the program?

A
  1. As per the Pilot Directions for MOST Grant for the Columbus Program Article 16 (4), it stipulates that the total amount of one-third of the plan execution period during the implementation of the plan shall be one-half of the total amount during the execution of the Einstein Program.
  2. As per the Pilot Directions for MOST Grant for the Einstein Program Article 16 (4), the research time spent overseas for a principal investigator shall not exceed half of the total project length.
  3. Same conditions apply to the postdoctoral fellows or assistants hired by the program.

Q4What should I do when my school reject my international research trip(s) for the execution of the Einstein/Columbus Program?

A
  1. As per the Pilot Directions Article 4 (4), the project funding may include the cost of substitutes or part-time teachers hired while the PI is on an international research trip. Thus, the PI can pay the expenses pf the substitutes or part-time teachers from the project funding when needed.
  2. The approval of the international research trip of the PIs should still obtain approval from their school/department beforehand. It is recommended that the PIs should communicate with their school/department first and ensure that their research trip will not affect their teaching duty.

Execution Institutions Cooperation Affairs

Q1Is there any flexibility in the cooperation affairs for execution institutions, if that excess the existing regulation of institute (e.g. teaching assistance)?

A

Concerning the cooperation affairs (e.g. teaching load), the consensus between the PI and the execution institution is respected. If needed, the PI can note any further stipulations in institution cooperation undertaking.

Q2What do the PI need to do when changing from one execution institute to another after the approval of the Einstein or the Columbus Program?

A

As per the Pilot Directions Article 11 (3), this new execution institution shall submit the institution cooperation undertaking for the PI.

Process of Proposal Review

Q1What is the approval rate?

A

There is no pre-set approval rate; it depends on the quality of the applications.

Q2Is there an approval rate for each research field? The number of granted Einstein Program and The Columbus Program could be transfer?

A

There is no pre-set approval rate for each discipline; the reviewers are focus on the quality and content of the applications. The numbers of approved projects for the Einstein Program and the Columbus Program are flexible but not transferrable.

Projects Execution

Q1Can successful applicants be a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI of other MOST programs while executing the Einstein Program or the Columbus Program? Or, can a successful applicant work as an assistant investigator?

A
  1. As per the Pilot Directions Article 5(2), “A principal investigator may not execute other MOST-funded projects during the execution of the Einstein Program project, with the exception of projects that fulfil one of the following requirements, in which case the projects may be continued until the end of project term with prior MOST approval:
  • The project in question is an industry−university cooperative research project or a joint project that involves a third party or whose termination jeopardizes collaborative overseas research and performance integrity.
  • The project in question is a planning project presided over by a discipline coordinator or a critical planning project that has been approved for continuance following the submission of an explanation.
  • The restriction does not apply to assistant investigator.”

Q2Should my funding from foreign institution(s) be terminated during the execution of the Einstein Program or the Columbus Program? Should my other non-MOST funded programs be terminated?

A

The Einstein Program and the Columbus Program do not restrict the PIs from receiving funding from foreign institutions, nor on executing non-MOST funded programs. Nonetheless, the PIs should not let the aforementioned funding or program influence their execution of the Einstein Program or the Columbus Program.

Young Scholar Fellowship Program Office

Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center