The selection process for a MAX KADE Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences takes approx. four to six months.
The candidates’ applications that make the shortlist are reviewed by international experts. At least two reviewers are consulted per application. The committee’s decision to award fellowships is based on the reports of the individual committee members.
Upon completion of the review procedure, the reviews are anonymised before being sent to each applicant.
The committee’s decision is final.
The applications are allocated to the members of the awarding committee by discipline, taking great care to avoid potential bias. This means first and foremost that committee members and applicants may not work at the same university or research institution. Furthermore, care is taken to avoid close professional or private connections or competition, if necessary consulting external experts.
In a pre-selection process, the awarding committee first decides which applications will be sent for external review. If the panel determines that an application does not fulfil the criteria of the funding programme, it is declined.
Upon completion of the shortlist, applicants receive written explanation as to why their application has been declined or notification that it has been selected for international review.
In the case of applications that are to be reviewed externally, the committee members appoint reviewers abroad who seem suitable for the role, taking great care to avoid bias or potential conflicts of interest.
There is not a fixed pool of reviewers; for each application experts are sought who can assess the proposal on the basis of their own academic experience or research activities in line with the international standards in the given field of research. These reviewers are engaged on a voluntary basis, i.e. they do not receive financial remuneration for this activity.
Applications are entitled to exclude up to three scholars from the review procedure (e.g. due to professional competition or rival schools).
At least one review is obtained for each application to the MAX KADE programme. For interdisciplinary proposals spanning several fields of research, this number can be increased.
Reviews consist of a written report and formal assessment of the scholarly quality of the applicant and aspects of the research project on a scale of 1–10 (1–2 = insufficient, 9–10 = outstanding):
1. The applicant’s scholarly qualifications and ability to undertake the project
2. Originality of the research project and its relevance to the field
3. Clarity of the research questions (hypotheses)
5. Suitability of the methods (incl. work plan and timetable)
6. Feasibility of the project (institute’s facilities, academic environment)
Finally, the reviewers are requested to summarise whether the application is worthy of funding without reservation, should be resubmitted following revision, or declined.
If the written statement is not conclusive, a further review is obtained. The reviewers are requested to declare potential bias. If bias is established retrospectively, the review is considered null and void.
In the case of resubmissions, at least one of the previous reviewers will be consulted again, along with at least one new reviewer. Resubmitted applications must be clearly marked as resubmissions and be accompanied by a report outlining the progress the project has made since initial submission and the alterations made on the basis of the criticism or suggestions in the review.
The decision to award the fellowships is made in the awards meeting.
The committee members rank candidates on the basis of the applications allocated to them and present them to the committee. The applications are considered on a comparative basis, with detailed discussion of both reviews and other criteria such as publishing records or mobility.
The decision to award a fellowship is made by the committee as a whole. In the event that individual committee members have a close professional or private relationship with an applicant, these members withdraw from the decision-making process.
After the awards meeting, the reviewers’ written statements are anonymised and sent to the applicants.