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Apply to be a Young Investigator




EMBO Young Investigators receive a financial award of 15,000 euros in their second year. They can also apply for additional small grants of up to 10,000 euros per year.


Networking is a key aspect of the programme, and Young Investigators benefit from extensive practical support, including:



  • The annual EMBO Young Investigator meeting
  • Special interest groups organizing sectoral meetings on a number of topics
  • Joint group meetings with other programme member’s labs
  • Visits to discuss a potential collaboration with another programme member
  • Seminars by Young Investigators at another programme members' institute
  • Research visits of a lab member to another programme member’s laboratory to exchange expertise

Support for Young Investigators:

Support for Young Investigator laboratories:


Detailed information about the benefits is listed in our programme guide for Young Investigators and Installation Grantees (pdf).






Candidates applying to become a Young Investigator must:

  • Have been an independent group leader for at least one year at the pre-application deadline and for less than four years in the year of application.
  • Have an excellent track record.
  • Carry out research in the life sciences in an EMBC Member State, an EMBC Associate Member State (currently India and Singapore) or a in countries/territories covered by a co-operation agreement (currently Taiwan and Chile).
  • Have obtained sufficient funding to run their laboratory.
  • Applicants must have published at least one last author research paper* in an international peer reviewed journal from independent work carried out in their own laboratory.
  • For female candidates with children, the limit of four-years since independence is automatically extended by one year per child.
  • For male applicants with children, the limit can be extended by the actual time taken off as pater- nity leave or – if their partner is working at least 80% FTE (full-time equivalent) – 3 months per child, whichever is longer, if the child is born while setting up the lab.
  • Illness and other care responsibilities are considered as exceptional circumstances on a case- by-case basis. Special provision may also be made for clinical scientists. If you feel your circum- stances warrant an extension of the eligibility period, please contact the EMBO Young Investigator Programme office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for advice before applying.
  • Be able to attend an interview in Heidelberg, Germany, on 5 or 6 November 2020.


For detailed information on the eligibility criteria, please consult the application guidelines (pdf).






Call for 2020 applications is now open!

Applications to the EMBO Young Investigator Programme are accepted annually in a two-stage process and must be submitted through an online system.


Application process

  • The deadline for pre-applications is 1 April 2020, 14:00 CEST.
  • The Young Investigator Committee invites selected candidates to submit a full application and attend an interview.
  • The deadline for full applications is 2 July 2020, 14:00 CEST.
  • All invited candidates will be interviewed by the Young Investigator Committee on 5 or 6 November 2020.
  • The final decision will be made at the Young Investigator Committee meeting.
  • All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by email.


Required documentation

The complete application for the Young Investigator Programme consists of:

  • CV
  • Synopsis of recent work
  • Outline of the research programme
  • Short summary of research
  • Publication list and list of three best papers
  • Three letters of reference
  • List of grants and pending grant applications


*Applicants must have published at least one last author research paper in an international peer reviewed journal from independent work carried out in their own laboratory. EMBO will consider papers published on preprint servers (arXiv, BioRxiv, PeerJ., etc), but a last author publication in an international peer reviewed journal is still a requirement. Your last author paper should have "accepted" status by the time of the interview (05 or 06 November 2020).


Do NOT indicate the journal impact factor. EMBO is a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment ( DORA ), which recommends “not to use journal based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions”.

For detailed information on the application process, key dates and required documentation, please consult the application guidelines (pdf).






Selection criteria

The primary selection criterion is scientific excellence. Additional aspects considered by the EMBO Young Investigator Committee are:

  • Proposed research
  • Group and research environment
  • Financial and intellectual independence

For a detailed list of selection criteria, download our application guidelines.


Selection process 

The selection process involves the following steps:


  • The pre-application stage: applicants whose initial applications were considered competitive for an award by the selection committee, are invited to submit a full application and attend an interview.
  • Full application review: The invited full applications are sent to an EMBO Member who is an expert in the applicant's research for a confidential review.
  • Interview: Candidates attend a panel interview with a subset of the Young Investigator Committee, where they deliver a presentation summarizing their current results, projects and future directions, followed by discussion.
  • Final decision: Following the interviews, the committee makes a final decision, and all candidates are informed by email of the outcome of their application.


 Due to the high number of applications, it is not possible to give any individual feedback. Reasons for the rejection will not be communicated.


Research Integrity

EMBO expects responsible conduct of research from its awardees. All the research activities carried out shall be in compliance with fundamental ethical and research integrity principles. In line with our commitment with these initiatives, we require all Young Investigators to complete an online course on research integrity.