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- A NETIAS initiative


The aim of the CAT programme is to foster networks of excellent early-career researchers dedicated to devising new ideas to understand and to tackle current or emerging societal challenges. Although the programme has a strong focus on the societal relevance of the projects, it is entirely blue sky, bottom-up and non-thematic.

Tackling societal challenges 

CAT encourages a collaboration with stakeholders outside academia (industry, policymakers, NGOs etc.) who are willing to support or engage in innovative research initiatives.

In order to engage in fruitful discussions and mature their ideas, the groups will be given the opportunity to meet for short stays in different participating institutes, and to be put in contact with the institutes’ fellows and local research communities.

Beyond current frontiers of knowledge

With few guidelines and a very light application process, CAT is designed to maximize the creativity of research groups. This call has been incubated in the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study (NETIAS) and also involves institutes beyond the network. The collaboration between several institutes in different countries aims at giving these groups access to a great variety of high-level thinkers and researchers in order to go beyond the current frontiers of knowledge and to develop highly innovative ideas on how to address very complex societal issues.

Eligibility criteria

The projects must address emergent societal issues. 

  • The Principal Investigator (team leader) must have a stable research position in a European (EU as well as UK and associated countries) higher education and/or research institution for the entire duration of the project.
  • S/he must have obtained a PhD between January 2013 and December 2021.
  • No team member should have obtained his/her PhD before January 2013. Doctoral researchers may also participate.
  • There is no specific diploma or age requirement for representatives of stakeholder organizations.
  • Each team should include participants from at least two different countries (current workplace, including non-European countries; any nationality).
  • The team of 3 to 5 persons (stakeholders included) must be fully constituted, with CVs of all members named in the proposal.

Application deadline

15 October 2023, 15:00 CET


The call is closed and the next application is expected in 2024.

How does it work?

CAT will provide teams of early-career researchers (three to five persons, possibly including an extra-academic stakeholder) time and space for thought and discussion in the best research environments Europe has to offer. During a period of up to three years, teams will benefit from a series of short stays (i.e. between one and two weeks, two to three times a year, for a maximum of six stays) in institutes participating in the program (see list below). Online meetings and digital research stays at the institutes are possible alternatives to onsite stays and can complete the work and time plan of CAT groups.

CAT will cover travel and accommodation expenses for the team meetings/short work stays in the participating institutes. CAT will not fund salaries or research related expenses.

The participating institutes will support the teams by connecting them with the most knowledgeable and experienced researchers onsite as well as digitally, and by helping them valorise the obtained results through their legitimating channels. During their stay, CAT teams will benefit from the institutes’ amenities and conviviality for work and exchanges. Discussions at the institutes will provide a unique sounding board for innovative ideas and will give valuable feedback.


Questions regarding the CAT Call can be directed to Ms. Keren Rechnitzer at cat@savion.huji.ac.il 

Questions regarding AIAS can be directed to Helle Villekold, Programme Manager, AIAS, helle@aias.au.dk 

Want to know more?

Read more about the application and selection process, and find further information on the programme and full application requirements here.