Start-up Funding

The line of funding provides selective, specific and prompt support for research projects with up to 30,000 euros per application. It primarily targets early career researchers and professors who have been newly appointed at a UA Ruhr university. It aims at enabling them to develop promising new project ideas with long-term potential and to substantiate them with scientific groundwork. Based on MERCUR grants, the objective is to generate highbrow research applications for other third-party funds providers (most importantly DFG, EU, BMBF), whose significance for the continuing academic career of the grantees is verifiable and which raise the respective research profiles.

Please note that funding is provided only for scientific groundwork for new research projects, not for the waiting period while an application filed with other third-party funds providers is pending. This line of funding does not aim at improving the scientific instrumentation and equipment of departments and research groups. Consequently, applications that are primarily requests for improving the instrumentation and equipment of a research group resp. that focus on the acquisition of an individual device will be excluded from the application procedures. Applications for research assistant resp. PhD positions may not be submitted in the start-up funding line, either. Information on allowable expenses is available in MERCUR’s current application guidelines.

Application requirement(s):

Eligible parties include junior professors, heads of junior research groups and postdoc researchers (up to ten years after PhD graduation) as well as professors newly appointed at the respective university (typically up to three years after taking up employment at the respective university; including employment at the same university immediately prior to the appointment, e.g. as junior professor). Due to a limited funding budget, applicants who have been awarded a grant in this line of funding in the past are not eligible to file another application. Projects for which an application has been filed in another start-up program within the UA Ruhr resp. at one of its universities are not eligible for MERCUR funding, regardless if the previous application has been accepted or not.

Application process

Drafts for the start-up funding program may be submitted by the following four deadlines: 15/02, 15/05, 15/08, 15/11. Application is a two-stage process (draft application proposal; full application proposal). In joint consultation with the Rectorates at all three UA Ruhr universities, MERCUR invites applicants whose projects meet most of the funding program’s objectives to file a full application proposal. A shortened process has been introduced for reviewing full application proposals for start-up funding. The expert assessment and decision-making process are ideally completed within approx. eight to ten weeks after submission of the full application proposal
For details on the application process, please refer to the application requirements, as well as the current Request for Proposal and our application guidelines.