Science Training and Collaboration in Eastern Europe: Resources

The European Commission's EURAXESS is a first port of call for job and training opportunities, information on the country you're moving to, and free assistance during relocation. The larger Eastern European countries each have their own EURAXESS home pages: Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia.

In addition, Eastern European funding and training opportunities are often listed in Science Careers' GrantsNet and jobs database, respectively.

Below are links to some specific training, funding, and collaboration opportunities for scientists from Eastern European countries, for going to the region, or for establishing collaborations meant to foster science within Eastern Europe. This is a partial list; please submit any suggestions for additional links to

Pan-European/international opportunities

The European Commission's Marie Curie Actions provide support to hundreds of researchers a year throughout Europe. Some examples include:

- International Incoming Fellowships fund researchers from outside Europe to work on a research project at a European institution.

- International Outgoing Fellowships provide funding for European researchers to do work in a non-European country for up to 3 years.

- International Reintegration Grants facilitate the return of researchers to Europe from the rest of the world.

- The International Research Staff Exchange Scheme funds research proposals that includes two independent participants from two different European countries, plus an organization from a non-E.U. country.

The Erasmus Programme from the European Commission allows 180,000 university students per year to spend 3 to 12 months in another European country. Students need to check with their university to see if it participates in Erasmus.

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) provides a variety of fellowships and grants. In particular, the EMBO Installation Grants provide 3 to 5 years of funding for young scientists setting up independent laboratories in Eastern European countries. Applicants must have spent at least two consecutive years outside the country where they wish to set up their lab. Other EMBO programs of interest include:

- The EMBO Young Investigator Programme, which provides 1 to 4 years of support for a newly independent investigator in a member state of the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC).

- EMBO Long-Term Fellowships, which provide up to 2 years of support for a postdoc that involves mobility between countries, one of which needs to be an EMBC member state.

- EMBO Short-Term Fellowships fund, which supports visits up to 3 months that involve exchanges between a minimum of two laboratories in different countries.

- EMBO Molecular Medicine Sabbaticals, which fund clinicians to do research sabbaticals in basic science laboratories. Awardees must carry out their sabbatical in an EMBC member state (that is not their own, if they are from Europe).

European Cooperation in Science and Technology offers support to help researchers throughout Europe to build research networks for greater coordination of nationally funded research across Europe.

The U.K.'s Wellcome Trust offers International Senior Research Fellowships that allow researchers with 5 to 10 years of experience to establish research careers at institutions in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and the Slovak Republic.

The Science for Peace and Security program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization funds collaborations of scientists in NATO countries that address the topics of defense against terrorism and countering other threats to security. These broad topics include areas such as detection of biological agents, food security, medical countermeasures, environmental security, water resources management, and so on. The program also offers grants for computer networking infrastructure to improve electronic communication in partner countries.

The Swiss National Science Foundation offers the Scientific Cooperation with Eastern Europe (SCOPES) program, which promotes collaborations between research groups in Switzerland and Eastern Europe. Projects must show potential for application and development within the Eastern European partner country.

Although there is no current call for applicants, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute offers 5-year grants through its International Research Scholars Program to scientists working in the Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Ukraine.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center offers the Global Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators. GRIP

promotes the reentry of NIH-trained foreign investigators into their home countries. The program is offered in behavioral/social science or basic/biomedical science. In addition, they offer the Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award, which provides funds to foster international research partnerships between NIH-supported scientists and their collaborators in countries of the developing world (which includes most Eastern European countries). Details of these and other programs are available on the Fogarty International Center Web site.

The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation supports international collaborations between U.S. and Eurasian research teams in basic and applied natural sciences as well as the development of new research and education centers in those countries.

Twenty years after the wall

(Andrzej Sobolewski)

This week, Science and Science Careers examine how science has fared in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In Science Careers:

- After the Fall of the Wall: Science Careers in Eastern Europe. After an initial exodus of their young scientists, Eastern European countries are seeing returns on a world without walls.

- More Opportunities for International Collaborations in Eastern Europe. Eastern European scientists have many opportunities to benefit from international collaborations at home.

- On Going Home: Succeeding in Science in Eastern Europe. Three early-career scientists discuss returning to their native countries after spending time abroad.

In Science:

- Aufbau Ost: Max Planck's East German Experiment. The Max Planck Society's expansion into the former East Germany seeded top science into the region, but challenges remain in making sure the successes take root.

- Big Dreams Come True. An East Germany family of scientists reflects on life before and after communism.

Country-specific opportunities

Czech Republic

The South Moravian Centre for International Mobility offers Incoming Grants for postdocs outside of the Czech Republic to come and do research in the South Moravian region, and Reintegration Grants for Czech researchers who have worked in a non–European Union country for at least 3 years. In addition, students from non-European countries can apply for a scholarship to complete a master's degree or Ph.D. at a Czech university.

The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic offers the J. E. Purkyně Fellowship to attract scientists under age 40 from abroad to work in Czech research institutes. The fellowship is offered for a maximum of 5 years and is open to Czech nationals and foreign scientists.


The Foundation for Polish Science maintains a database of Ph.D. and postdoctoral opportunities in Poland and offers many different grants and scholarships. Here are some of them:

- The HOMING Programme for returning Polish scientists offers a stipend plus funds to do research and continue an international collaboration.

- The WELCOME Programme is for foreign researchers who want to set up research teams in Polish universities.

- The FOCUS Programe supports young scientists to set up their own research teams

- The INNOVATOR Programme provides training and assistance for Ph.D. students or recent graduates to familiarize scientists with business principles and consulting in preparation of innovative projects.

- The International PhD Projects Programme provides funding for scientific consortia consisting of at least one Polish and one foreign research unit that carry out common Ph.D. projects.

- Research Fellowships for Scholars from CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) Countries provides a fellowship for 1 to 12 months for those wishing to conduct research in Polish scientific institutions.

The Alexander von Humboldt Polish Honorary Research Fellowships support a 4- to 12-month research stay for a German scholar in a Polish scientist's lab.

The Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission offers Fulbright Advanced Research Awards, 6- to 9-month scholarships for Polish citizens to do a research project in the United States. The Fulbright Junior Advanced Research Awards are for Polish doctoral candidates planning a research project in the United States. Fulbright Graduate Student Awards are for Polish citizens who plan to undertake graduate degree studies in the United States.


The National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia offers several programs to promote science in Croatia:

- The Homing Programme provides funding for foreign scientists and Croatian scientists from abroad to set up labs in Croatia.

- Installation Grants support Croatian scientists who have worked abroad or foreign scientists under age 35 to set up their research labs in Croatia.

- Senior awards are available to foreign and Croatian full professors for research projects and for training young researchers at Croatian institutions.

The Unity Through Knowledge Fund offers the Homeward Grant to attract Croatian scientists abroad back to Croatian institutions. Similarly, the Reintegration Grant funds Croatian scientists returning to the country for an independent research project. The Gaining Experience Grant Connectivity Program provides funding for Croatian scientists in Croatia to spend up to 6 months at a research institute abroad.


The Hungarian National Office for Research and Technology (NKTH) and the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) are currently running a call on behalf of the Hungarian government for research proposals involving international mobility with the aim to support the careers of young Hungarian researchers.

The National Office for Research and Technology offers seed funding and support to help Hungarian scientists build international collaborations and compete for E.U funding. FP7 calls for multinational research projects. NKTH also calls for proposals to identify collaboration opportunities that could be followed under bilateral cooperation agreements with other countries.

OTKA also offers funding for principal investigators in Hungary to set up international research and training programs.

Every year the Talentis Group offers the Central European Talent Scholarship Talentum Prize to reward the achievements of Hungarian scientists under 35 in the natural, life, and social sciences.

The HungarianAmerica Foundation runs an online employment and resources center called HunEx, which is aimed at facilitating the mobility of knowledge and human resources between Hungary and the United States.


The government of Slovenia has bilateral agreements with many other countries that allow Slovenian researchers to obtain funding for cooperative research projects. The Slovenian Research Agency also occasionally offers funding for Slovenian institutions to host a renowned researcher with a foreign affiliation, including Slovenian researchers, to come for a 3-month visit.

Photo (top) Charles Bridge, Prague. Credit: Ville Miettinen

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