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1. General Questions

1.1. I will have my MA degree soon after the call deadline. Am I eligible for an GEM-DIAMOND MSCA Fellowship?

If you do not hold your MA Degree before the call deadline, you are scheduled to have graduated and secured the necessary degrees by the start date of the ultimate registration date of the programme (i.e. October 2022).

If this is the case, and you do not yet have the required degrees at the time of your application but are expected to have them by the start of the programme any acceptance of your candidacy will be conditional on you securing the promised degree within the allotted time.

1.2. What is the duration of the fellowship?

Each fellowship will last for 36 months.

Possible extensions are not guaranteed and would be awarded on a case-by-case basis

1.3. If I am selected for the fellowship, when I’m I held to start my research and training project?

As stated, you are held to arrive in your first host institution by the 31st of October 2022 at the latest.

Selected candidates will be expected to commit full-time to the project for a total of 36-months from at the latest the end of October 2022.

The training, research and secondments schedules spelled out in each of the 16 Call for Application is understood as a full-time commitment. Formalized both by way of the fellowship/employment contract signed with the primary institution, and the Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP) signed with the GEM-DIAMONDd Consortium.

1.4. Will the living allowance include social security, and other benefits?

Yes, living allowance includes social security. The fellowship contract is fully subjected and party to the Provisions of the Social Security System of the European country the fellow will be employed in for 36-months. The country of hire corresponds to the first degree-awarding institution visited by each ESR.

Overall, to varying degrees, European Social Security regimes cover: Health Insurance, Maternity leave, sick pay in case of hospitalisation, Disability Insurance, national pension system, national unemployment system, Insurance against Workplace Accidents, Family Benefits, and Provisions towards Occupational Diseases.

1.6. How are secondment set-up within GEM-DIAMOND?

As a reminder, secondments are understood as either research or training visits to another academic or non-academic organisation offering expertise that is relevant to the individual and collective research project.

Within GEM-DIAMOND, each ESR has a set Mobility Agenda which necessarily includes two obligatory secondments: (1) an academic secondment to their second degree-awarding institution (ranging from 9-to-18 months long), and (2) a non-academic secondment to one of the partner non-academic institutions (4 months long).

Both secondments are obligatory, necessarily in person, and scheduled from the onset. As such, their timing and conditions will be formalized as part of the PCDP the fellows will sign along with their fellowship contract.

Each individual Call for Applications provides the key information on the mobility calendar as they each include the settled secondment destinations, co-supervisors, non-academic mentors, and expatriation dates.

2. Applications

2.1. Can we submit multiple applications? 

No, each candidate can apply to only one of the 16 topical Ph.D. Calls for Applications GEM-DIAMOND has published in 2022.

As such, candidates are to carefully consider all aspects of each of the 16 Calls for Application (individual research project, wider work package topic, disciplines involved, co-supervisors, mentor, mobility schedule …) and chose the application most suited to them. Applicants’ capacity to identify the Call best suited to their profile is part of the application process.

2.2. The application calls for references letters but securing these has proven difficult how can I proceed?

Academic references are one of the components used by the evaluation committee. As such, the inclusion of two letters (or at least one submitted recommendation letter) will be an obvious asset.

If, however, securing these in a timely fashion proves difficult (i.e. before the July 3rd deadline) for those references not yet secured (one or both) candidates can include the contact references of the academic sponsored envisioned and submit the letter at a later date.

If you opt to see the letter(s) submitted at a later date OR a sponsor wishes to preserve the confidentiality of their recommendation, letters can also be submitted via mail by sending them to pmo@gem-stones.eu

2.3. Which language do I have to use in my application file and, if successful, during my fellowship?

The working, training and research language of GEM-DIAMOND is English. 

Your application file must be submitted in English, as it will be evaluated by international experts. Equally, all communication with the GEM-DIAMOND team, listed co-supervisors and mentors is to be in English.

The only formal language requirement applicants must meet is a working level of English, all other language skills are an obvious asset but only English is a formal requirement.

Knowledge of the local language of the various institutions is at time explicitly listed as an asset as this can facilitate your integration in the local research team but this is never considered an eligibility criterion. Furthermore, on a case-by-case fellows will benefit from PCDP which can include languages courses covering the local languages of hosting institutions. 

2.4. Do I have to translate my diplomas in English? Do you require certified translations? 

You can submit your official documents (PhD Degree, certificates, etc.) in any languages of the European Union. There is no need to translate them. For non-EU languages, please provide a certified translation.

2.5. Can we re-apply to the following calls if we have already applied to 2022 call?

No, in its current form GEM-DIAMOND will only publish a call in 2022

2.6. How is the "12-month" mobility criteria to be understood?

GEM-DIAMOND is a Marie Curie (MSCA) program that is part of Horizon Europe's mobility scheme.  Accordingly, the only criteria imposed on the selection process by the funding authorities is that the withheld candidate engages in "international mobility" when starting their contract.  

In other words, selected fellows are expected to expatriate themselves from their present country of residence and/or activity to a new country of residence when starting their fellowship contract. Besides the mobility criteria, there are no other conditions other than the academic ones (e.g. requisite degrees, quality of the research project, personal CV, etc.).  

The definition of what such an expatriation entails is set out in the MSCA Guidebooks: "[selected candidates] must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months over the past 3years immediately before their recruitment date" (MSCA, Guidebook) 

Residency is understood as the location of one’s main residence whereas one's main activity covers all professional (employed, self-employed), enrolment in education (High School, Ba, MA, PhD), training (internships, traineeships) or fellowships. 

The initial country of each fellowship is spelled out in the associated detailed call. As long as the formal period of residency/activity in said country is shorter than 12 months there is no problem, yet beyond that, the applicant will no longer be eligible for that specific ESR. Please bear in mind, that if the mobility rule blocks you from a given ESR please feel free to consider one of the other fellowships as a possible alternative as they will involve different starting countries. 

2.7. How can I prove my English (and other) language Proficiency?

As part of the application process, candidates are asked to assess their own level of English (and any other language listed). They are asked to self-assess their proficiency in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Stated english fluency and the mastry of other languages will be taken into account when assessing the applications.

One of two possible means can certify the stated level of English language proficiency, the candidate have:

  • either secured an internationally recognized proficiency test (IELTS, TOEFL, ...),
  • or that candidate has in their background an English-language OR bilingual degree (with transcripts reflecting a curriculum with a critical mass of courses in English).

Either of these modes of verification is linked to the documentation you will be asked to provide as part of your application, be it the obligatory inclusion of your past (and ongoing) degrees with their transcripts, or the optional inclusion of any language certificate you might have. 

If a candidate cannot provide the necessary certification of the stated English language proficiency, their fluency will be checked at the interview stage if they are short-listed. In this case, the selection board reserves the right to request additional documentation before enrolment, making any acceptance under these conditions a conditional one

2.8. How can I prove my prior degrees are equivalent to 300ECTS if they do not conform to the standard 3-year BA + 2-year MA formula?

If your prior diplomas do not conform to the standard 3+2 (300ECTS) formula, this standard procedure to certify your eligibility for a doctoral program across most institutions within the European Higher Education Area is to secure a formal statement from your department at the Institution having awarded you your highest degree certifying that you would be eligible to apply to their Ph.D. programs on the degree they awarded you. In other words, equivalency in such cases is recognized if the highest degree provides you with access to an equivalent Ph.D. program in the degree-awarding institution. 

2.9. What C.V. format is required?

No set C.V. format is imposed on the applicants who are welcome to use the format of their choosing. Candidates are welcome to use the Europass Model - see https://europa.eu/europass/en - but this is not an obligation. When compiling their CV applicants should keep in mind that the application forms explicitly request an 'academic CV' as such any chosen format should at a minimum include: all prior schooling; all degrees obtained so far or expected to secure by October 2022; full publication and research history; relevant skill set (including languages) and any further professional information deemed useful.

3. Evaluation

3.1. Evaluation Stages

The four stages of the evaluation are: 

  1. Eligibility check
  2. External Expert Paper-based ranking
  3. Remote Interviews of Short-listed candidates
  4. Supervisory Board review and Decision

3.2. How are the external experts chosen?

External experts are chosen by using existing databases of experts. The selection of the experts is based on the following criteria:

  • The external expert has an active publication track-record in the specific field with several peer reviewed publications and citations per publication (excluding self-citations) during the last ten years.
  • The external experts have to confirm that they (i) never co-published with the candidate (ii) did not co-publish neither with the candidate’s PhD advisor nor with the scheduled co-supervisor at the two listed hosting institutions during the five years prior to the evaluation process.

3.3. Will fellowships depend on the number of applications received for each of the 16 Calls?

No, there will be 16 fellowships selected, one for each topical call.

3.4. Will there be an interview of the candidates?

Yes, as indicated in the Call for Application.

Interviews will be hosted online between the 11th and the 20th of July.

Sort-listed candidates will be interviewed by their potential co-supervisor and non-academic mentor.

3.5. Is there a reserve list?

Following the Interview stage each interviewing panel will identify one best-ranked application who will be offered the fellowship, and at least two further ranked applications to be put on the reserve list. If a candidate decides not to accept the position, the applicant ranked first among the reservists for in the corresponding call will be offered the fellowship and the process will continue until all reservists have been contacted.

3.6. What happens if the a given fellowships is not attributed for one of the Call for Applications?

If need be either an extension or a renewed Call for Application period for a given call can be decided by the Supervisory Board.  

3.7. Will the evaluators consider the level of experience of the applicants?

The experts will evaluate the proposal based on an evaluation sheet.

Three main aspects will be considered: excellence of the research, impact of the research and capacity to implement the research. These aspects are to be evaluated through four variables reflected in the submitted applications:

  1. personal background,
  2. personal motivation,
  3. personal interpretation of the research individual project,
  4. expected impact on the personal career path

Within the personal background, evaluators are invited to consider “the track record of the candidate in relation to the level of experience”

3.8. What are the Formal Eligibility Criteria?

There are no formal eligibility criteria other than the spelled-out mobility criteria which states that:

At the time of recruitment, an applicant to a given call must not have resided, or carried out his/her main activity in the country of the first host institution for more than 12 months cumulatively in the 3 years prior to October 2022

Besides the mobility criteria no distinction will be made between applicants on the base of nationality, gender, race, religion, or disability. As such, both EU and non-EU applicants are welcome for all 16 calls, the sole criteria that will be checked during the eligibility stage is the candidates’ residency history at the time of their application.

3.9. What are the Substantive Eligibility Criteria?

The specific substantive criteria in each case are specified in each of the 16 individual Calls for Applications.

Standard requirements across all 16 applications rang from a certified level of English to a Master-level degree in a relevant field, by way of a fully filled out online application submitted in a timely fashion through the online system – i.e., by 5pm (CET) on July 3rd, 2022.

Specific requirements varying from call-to-call include the lists of either relevant master diplomas or additional skills considered an asset; Crucially, the main difference is the individual research project spelled out in each case which each candidate must make their own by submitted a research project (incl. relevant references and bibliography) offering a personal interpretation of said research project.

4. Supervisory Arrangements – i.e. Co-Supervisors & Mentors

4.1. Can one change the listed Supervisors or Mentors?

No, the wider research project, the mobility schedule AND the Supervisory Trio for each project are set and are not up for discussion.

Accordingly, the relevant Supervisory Trio are clearly spelled out in each Call for Application.

4.2. Can a candidate contact the listed members of the Supervisory Trio?

Yes. Candidates are encouraged to reach out the Supervisory Trio during their application phase.

GEM-DIAMOND cannot guarantee a response from all as different academics/mentors have different positions when it comes to contacts with potential applicants during the applications phase. However, the Call for Applications purposefully provide the contact information for all Supervisory Trio members to facilitate contacts for those candidates who might have substantive questions.

To facilitate contacts, please clearly indicate in the object of the emails sent that pertains to a GEM-DIAMOND applications.

5. Miscellaneous

5.1. Besides the members of the Supervisory Trio, where can I turn if I have further questions?

The application website foresees an “online contact form” candidates can use to submit any additional questions they might have that are not covered by the FAQ.