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Notice for Open Call for PhD Studentships - field Galaxies

Ref: IA2020-08-BID

The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço opens a call for granting 1 (one) PhD Studentship, in the area of Astronomy and Astrophysics – Galaxies, complying with the provisions of the FCT Regulation for Research Studentships and Fellowships (RBI) and the Research Fellowship Holder Statute (EBI).

The studentships will be funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) under the Collaboration Protocol for Financing the Multiannual Plan of Research studentships for PhD Students, signed between FCT and the R&D Unit Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (UIDB/04434/2020 & UIDP/04434/2020).

1. APPLICATION
The call is open from 16th November 2020  to 31st January 2021.

Applications and all the supporting documents must be submitted by using the form available below.
 
Each applicant may submit one application only, under penalty of cancellation all the applications submitted.

Providing false declarations or committing acts of plagiarism by applicants will lead to the exclusion of the application, without prejudice of taking other corrective and punitive disciplinary measures.

2. TYPE AND DURATION OF STUDENTSHIPS
Phd Studentships will be granted to applicants that fulfil the requirements to join a study cycle that allows to obtain a PhD degree and that wish to develop research work in order to obtain that degree in a Portuguese university.

The research activities leading to acquiring the Phd degree will take place at the R&D Unit Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, which will be the host institution of the studentship holders, without prejudice of work carried out in collaboration between more than one institution.

The research activities leading to acquiring the Phd degree must be part of the work plan and strategy of the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, and carried out within the scope of the following PhD programs:

   • PhD Program in Astronomy at the University of Porto (Programa de Doutoramento em Astronomia da Universidade do Porto)
   • PhD Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Lisbon (Programa de Doutoramento em Astronomia e Astrofísica da Universidade de Lisboa)

The work plan may take place entirely or partially in a national institution (scholarship in the country or mixed scholarship, respectively).

As a rule, the duration of the studentships is annual, renewable up to a maximum number of four years (48 months), and cannot be granted for a period less than 3 consecutive months.

In case of a mixed studentship, the work plan period in a foreign institution cannot exceed 24 months.

3. RECIPIENTS
The Phd studentships are aimed to applicants enrolled or that comply with the requirements to enroll in one of the Phd Programmes contained in point 2 of this Call, and who wish to carry out a Phd degree and develop research activities at Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço or in host institutions associated.

4. ADMISSIBILITY

4.1 APPLICANT’S ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Candidates that can apply for this call:
   • National citizens or citizens from other member-states of the European Union;
   • Third-party states citizens;
   • Stateless individuals;
   • Citizens holding a political refugee status.

To apply the Phd Studentship it is necessary:
   • To hold a graduate and/or master degrees in the area of Astronomy, Physics or in areas considered to be related;
   • To be a citizen permanently and usually living in Portugal, in case the work plan of the requested studentship proceeds, entirely or partially, in foreign institutions (in case of both in Portugal and abroad or exclusively abroad studentships); this requirement is applicable to both national and foreign citizens.
   • Not to have benefited from a Phd or a Phd in industry studentship directly funded by FCT, regardless of its duration.

4.2 ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS 
It is mandatory, under the penalty of non-admissibility, to attach the following documents to the application:

   • Elements of the identity card/citizen card/passport;
   • Applicant’s Curriculum vitae (up to 5 pages) with information relevant to the evaluation criteria;
   • Academic degree certificates awarded by a Portuguese or a foreign higher education institution, necessarily specifying the final classification and, whenever possible, indicating the grade for each subject, or alternatively, the candidate’s declaration of honor of having completed the bachelor’s or master’s degree by the end of the application deadline;
   • Registration of recognition of academic degrees awarded by foreign higher education institutions and registration of the conversion of the respective final classification to the Portuguese classification scale, or, alternatively, the applicant's declaration of honor on how he obtained the recognition of the foreign degree equivalent to that of licensed or master by the end of the application period;
   • Motivation letter (up to 2 pages), indicating the candidate's motivation, research interests and expectations;
   • Recommendation letters (2)
   • All the application, including motivation and recommendation letters, must be written in portuguese or in english.

On the requirements for admissibility mentioned above, note the following:

   • In case of foreign academic degrees, and to guarantee the application of the principle of equal treatment to applicants with national and foreign academic degrees, it is mandatory to submit the recognition of such degrees and the conversion to the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale.

The recognition of foreign academic degrees and diplomas, and the conversion of the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale, can be issued by a Portuguese public higher education institution, or by the Directorate General for Higher Education (Direção Geral do Ensino Superior, DGES) in case of automatic recognition. Regarding this matter, it is suggested to consult the DGES portal through the following address: http://www.dges.gov.pt.

   • Only candidates who have concluded the program of study leading to the bachelor’s or master’s degree by the application deadline will be admitted. In case the degree certificate is not yet available, the candidate’s declaration of honor that will have completed the qualification necessary for the call by the end of the application deadline will be accepted. The grant of the studentship is always dependent on presenting proof of having the necessary academic qualifications.

5. STUDENTSHIPS WORK PLANS AND SCIENTIFIC SUPERVISION
The choice of the work plan by the approved candidates will be made from a list of proposals validated by IA and aligned with the scientific priorities of the Institute available on the IA website. Proposed work plans will be made available to successful candidates.

This call for proposals covers the area of Astronomy and Astrophysics - Galaxies, and the work plan will be included in the thematic line of the IA: The assembly history of galaxies resolved in space and time.

All fellows will be integrated into the research programs of the IA teams. The IA will also organize training schools and regular meetings, and provide support for students to participate in international meetings and visits to other partner institutes and organizations. For mixed scholarships (with mobility of up to two years), the fellow will spend periods in other institutions under the contract for joint supervision and double degrees (if relevant). Joint supervisions can be organized with ESO, ESA or other research institutes and organizations in the European Union or elsewhere.

6. EVALUATION CRITERIA
The evaluation will consider the applicants merit.

All admitted applications must be grade from zero (minimum) to 20 (maximum) in each of the following evaluation criteria:

   • Criterion A - candidate's curriculum evaluation, with a weight of 60%;

          o Subcriterion A1 - previous academic training, including the result and content of curricular units completed and the relevance of this training to the scientific area of this scholarship, with a weight of 25%;
          o Subcriterion A2 - complementary training, participation in exchange / mobility programs and other curricular activities, with a weight of 25%;
          o Subcriterion A3 - letters of reference and other relevant elements, with a weight of 10%.

   • Criterion B - motivation and skills demonstrated to carry out a PhD program, with a weight of 40%: (1) cover letter and research included in the academic curriculum, namely undergraduate projects, dissertations and internships; (2) participation in research activities, including meetings, internships, participation in research teams, experience in computational research, astronomical observation or in instrumentation development, etc; (3) scientific results, with the identification of the candidate's contribution, including publications in specialized magazines and proceedings, oral or poster communications, reports, and other relevant items.

In order to decide the grant of the studentship, applicants will be ranked according to the weighted average of the scored obtained in each of the 2 criteria, converted into the following formula:

Final grade = (0,6 × A) + (0,4 × B)

The evaluation will include an interview, for candidates in the first 5 places on the list ordered by final classification. This interview will aim to complement and confirm the information provided in criterions A and B, and also to validate the candidate's communication and social interaction, as well as his command of the English language.

For tiebreaking purposes, the final ranking list will be based on the scores assigned to each of the evaluation criteria in the following order: criterion A, criterion B.

Important advice for candidates with diplomas awarded by foreign higher education institutions:

   • Applicants with a foreign academic degree can apply and be evaluated on the same criteria as candidates with Portuguese diploma degree, as long it is presented in the application, the recognition of foreign academic degrees, and the conversion of the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale, according with the legislation.

   • Candidates with foreign degrees who do not show proof of conversion from the final classification to the Portuguese classification scale will be evaluated with the minimum classification (10 points out of 20 possible) in criterion (A1).

   • In both cases, studentship contract with foreign academic degree applicants will only be concluded after the presentation of the recognition of foreign academic degrees, and the conversion of the respective final grade, as mentioned above.

Applicants whose application is scored with a final grade lower than 14 points are not eligible for studentship granting.

7. EVALUATION
The composition of the panel that will evaluate the applications is made public on the IA website, just after the application submission period and before the evaluation begins.

The evaluation panel will analyze applications considering the evaluation criteria disclosed in this Notice for Open Call, considering all the appreciation procedure. 

The members of the panel, including the coordinator, accept the commitment to respect a set of responsibilities essential to the evaluation process, such as impartiality, declaration of potential conflict of interests (COI), and of confidentiality. During all the evaluation process, confidentiality must be fully protected and ensured in order to guarantee the independence of all the evaluations produced.

All the panel members, may never be a supervisor or co-supervisor of applicants with applications submitted under the present call.

For each application, a final evaluation report will be produced by the panel, in which the arguments that led to the assigned ratings to each of the criteria and sub-criteria are presented in a clear, coherent and consistent manner.

The panel meeting report is of the responsibility of all evaluation panel members.

The panel meeting report and its annexes must include the following information:
   • The name and affiliation of all evaluation panel members;
   • The identification of all applications considered as “non-assessable”, as well as the respective justification;
   • The methodology adopted in case of particular cases;
   • The final evaluation report for each applicant;
   • The provisional ranked list of all the applications evaluated by the panel, in descending order of the final score.
   • The COI declarations of all the panel members;
   • Eventual vote and competence delegations for justified absences

8. RESULTS DISCLOSURE
Evaluation results are disclosed via e-mail to the e-mail address provided by the applicant in the application.

9. DEADLINES AND PROCEDURES FOR PRELIMINARY HEARING, CLAIMS AND APPEALS
Once the provisional ranked list of the evaluation results has been communicated, applicants who have an unfavorable provisional decision may use their right to dispute it during the preliminary hearing phase, which takes place within 10 working days, according to Articles 121º and following of the Administrative Procedure Code (CPA).

The final decision will be disclosed after the analysis of the applicant’s argument’s presented in the preliminary hearing. Final decision can be claimed within 15 working days, or, alternatively, appealed within 30 working days, after the communication of the final results. Applicant’s who choose to submit a claim must present their arguments to the coordination of the R&D Unit Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço. Applicants who prefer to submit an appeal must present their arguments to the same body.

10. REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTSHIP GRANTING
Studentships contracts are signed directly with FCT.

The following documents must be sent, when studentship is granted, for the purposes of drawing up the contract:

    a) Copy of the documents of personal identification, tax number and, if applicable, social security identification;
    b) Copy of the academic degree certificates;
    c) Presentation of the recognition degree, issued by a non-Portuguese higher education institution, and the conversion of the final grade to the Portuguese grading scale, if applicable; 
    d) Document proving the acceptance and registration in the PhD Program identified in this notice;
    e) Supervisor(s) statement declaring to coordinate the work plan, as established in Article 5-A of the Research Fellowships Holder Statute (template will be made available by FCT);
    f) Institutional document supporting the applicant, issued by the institution where the research activities will take place, guaranteeing the necessary conditions to its successful development, as well as the fulfilment of the duties established in Article n. 13 of the Research Fellowship Holder Statute (template will be made available by FCT);
    g) Updated document proving the exclusivity dedication regime (template will be made available by FCT).

The studentship grant is still dependent on:
   • the fulfillment of all the requirements listed in this Notice for Open Call; 
   • the results of the scientific evaluation;
   • the absence of unjustified non-compliance of the studentship holder during previous directly or indirectly FCT funded studentships;
   • FCT available budget.

The lack of any of the necessary documents to complete the contracting procedure implies the expiration of the studentship granting and conclusion of the process; applicants have up to 6 months after the disclosure of the provisional granting to present all the listed documents. 

11. FUNDING
Studentships payment will start after returning the signed studentship, which should happen within 15 working days after its delivery.

The studentships in this call will be financed by FCT, using the State Budget Fund and, whenever eligible, using the European Social Fund (ESF), under the PORTUGAL2020 program, in particular under Programa Operacional do Norte (NORTE 2020), Programa Operacional Regional do Centro (Centro 2020) and Programa Operacional Regional do Alentejo (Alentejo 2020), according to the respective requirements.

12. STUDENTSHIP ALLOWANCE
Studentships will receive a monthly maintenance allowance, in accordance with the table in Annex I of the RBI.

The studentship may also include additional allowance, according to RBI’s Article no. 18, and the values indicated in its Annex II.

All studentships have a personal accident insurance related to the research activities, which FCT will support.

All studentship holders who are not beneficiaries of any social protection regime can use the right to social security through the voluntary social insurance regime, under the terms of the Contributory Scheme of the Social Security System. FCT will ensure the charges resulting from contributions under the terms and with the limits provided in Article 10º of the EBI.

13. PAYMENT OF THE STIDENTSHIP ALLOWANCE
Payments due to the studentship holder are made by bank transfer to the respective indicated account. The monthly maintenance allowance is paid on the first working day of each month.

Registration, enrolment or bench fees components are directly payed to the national institution where the studentship holder has enrolled.

14. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF STUDENTSHIP RENEWAL
The renewal of the studentship always depends on a request submission, within 60 working days prior to the renewal start date, with the following documents:

    a) declaration issued by the supervisor(s) and by the host organization(s) attesting the work plan development and the evaluation of the respective activities;
    b) updated document proving compliance with the exclusive dedication regime;
    c) declaration demonstrating the enrolment renewal in the study cycle leading to the doctoral degree.

15. INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY OF THE GRANTED FUNDING
All the R&D activities carried out by the grantee, directly or indirectly financed by the studentship, namely, communications, publications and scientific creations, as well as thesis, must include the reference to FCT and the European Social Fund (ESF) financing. In particular, these references should mention the following operational programmes Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (NORTE 2020), Programa Operacional Rehional do Centro (Centro 2020) and Programa Operacional do Alentejo (Alentejo 2020). Insignia of FCT, MCTES, ESF and EU must be included in the documents referring to these actions, according to the graphic rules of each operational program.

The disclosure of research results funded according to the RBI provisions must comply with the open access guidelines, publications and other research results in accordance with FCT rules.

For all studentships, in particular in case of European funded actions, namely the ESF, may be performed monitoring and controlling actions by national or European entities according to the applicable legislation. Grantees must therefore collaborate and provide all the required information, including answering to surveys and evaluation studies in this area, even though the studentship might has already ceased.

16. NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL ACCESS POLICY
FCT promotes a policy of non-discrimination and equal access, thus no applicant candidate may be privileged, benefited, damaged or deprived of any right or exempted from any duty. This includes ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family situation, economic situation, education, origin or social condition, genetic heritage, reduced work capacity, disability, chronic disease, nationality, ethnicity or race, land of origin, language, religion, political or ideological beliefs, or trade union affiliation.

17. APPLICABLE LEGISLATION AND REGULATION
The present Call is governed by this Notice of Open Call, the FCT Regulation of Research Fellowships, approved by the Regulation no. 950/2019, published in the Series II of the DR, 16th December, by the Research Fellowship Holder Statute, approved by the Law no. 40/2004, of 18th of August, in its current version, and by other applicable national and European legislation.

Publication date: 23 October 2020




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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia