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Apply to be a Young Investigator




Applications are accepted from candidates who meet the following criteria:

  • Have been an independent group leader for at least one year at the pre-application deadline
  • Have been an independent group leader for less than four years on 1 January in the year of application.
  • Have at least two years of post PhD scientific experience and an excellent track record.
  • Work in the life sciences in an EMBC member state. Special provisions are made for scientists in Singapore and based at Taiwanese institutes, as part of the Singapore-EMBO|EMBC and Taiwanese-EMBO|EMBC cooperation agreement.
  • Have obtained sufficient funding to run their laboratory.
  • Have published at least one last author research paper in an international peer reviewed journal from independent work carried out in their own laboratory.
  • Are 40 years old or younger on 1 January in the year of application, unless exceptional circumstances have significantly delayed career progression.
  • Are able to attend the interviews in Heidelberg in October 2016 (dates tbc).


Please note:

  • We accept 'last author' research papers that are in submission by the deadline (1 April each year). Last author reviews are not accepted.
  • For female candidates with children, both the limit of four-years since independence and the age limit of 40 is automatically extended by one year per child.
  • Illness, parental leave and extended military service are considered as exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Special provision may also be made for clinical scientists. If you feel your circumstances warrant an extension of the eligibility periods, please contact the EMBO office for advice before applying.
  • When defining independence we take into account whether the scientist writes grants in their own name; reports directly to funding agencies; is able to submit manuscripts as a last author and can be responsible for supervising their own graduate students and/or post docs.



Application to the EMBO Young Investigator Programme is via a two-stage application process. Please check the eligibility criteria before applying.


Application process 2016

The pre-application deadline for the 2016 call is 1 April 14:00 CEST. The details for the 2016 application process (including updated application forms) will be available early in 2016.


Deadline for pre-application

1 April, 14:00 CEST*

Pre-application results

2016 dates tbc

Full applications invited

Deadline for full application

Committee meeting & interviews


For information, we include details of the application process and example forms from 2015 below. The 2016 process is likely to be very similar.


Application process 2015 (for information)

Stage 1, pre-application:

  1. Applicants are asked to submit basic information about their scientific career and track record via our online application system as well as:

     * Important note: The details of the three referees should be submitted as soon as possible. You can continue to update your online form until the deadline. Reference letters are automatically requested, are only accepted via the online system and must be submitted by the deadline.

  2. After the application deadline, we will confirm that the pre-application has been received and is complete.
  3. Pre-applications of eligible applicants are sent to the EMBO Young Investigator Committee for pre-screening.
  4. Following pre-screening approximately 50 applicants are invited to submit a full application and attend an interview with the selection committee.

Stage 2, full application:

  1. Applicants are asked to provide further information via the online system, and a final application form  to be completed and uploaded as a PDF via the online system. Applicants should refer to the YIP Application Guidelines when completing this form.
  2. Full applications are sent to an EMBO Member expert in the area of the applicant's research for a confidential review.
  3. Candidates are interviewed by the EMBO Young Investigator Committee in October. 



The EMBO Young Investigator Committee, is looking for the best and most promising young independent researchers in Europe. The primary selection criterion applied by all EMBO committees is scientific excellence.


The aspects considered in particular by the EMBO Young Investigator Committee when making their decisions are:


Track record

  • Are the publications to date an indication that this is an outstanding scientist?
    • Please note that EMBO is a signatory of DORA and does not use journal-based metrics such as impact factor for evaluation.
  • Has the applicant shown a willingness to change research area, which is an indication of an ability to tackle new and important problems?


  • Is the proposed research ambitious and likely to lead to novel contributions in the field?
  • Does the applicant have the potential to become a future leader in their field?

Group and Research environment

  • Is the research environment conducive to competitive research?
  • Are the number of laboratory members and the available funds sufficient to undertake the described research?


  • Is the candidate intellectually and financially independent? What is the influence of former supervisors and institute heads on the candidate's current research?


Selection process:

  1. At the pre-application stage the committee judge whether the initial application is competitive enough to be considered for the award. About 50 applicants are invited to submit a full application and attend an interview.
  2. Full applications are requested and sent to an EMBO Member expert in the area of the applicant's research for a confidential review.
  3. Candidates attend a panel interview with a subset of the committee. Candidates are asked to deliver a 10-minute presentation summarizing their current results, projects and future directions. The presentation will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion. A logical and convincing presentation can be a distinguishing factor between the excellent applications received.

  4. The committee makes a final decision on each application after the interviews based on the performance at interview, the information provided in the application form and a confidential review by an EMBO Member expert in the candidate's field.
  5. All candidates are informed by email of the outcome of their full application.



EMBO Young Investigators benefit from extensive networking opportunities, and other financial and practical support.


EMBO Young Investigators receive a financial award of 15,000 euros in their second year. All current EMBO Young Investigators can also apply for small grants of up to 10,000 euros from funds provided by EMBO Council.


The EMBO Young Investigator Programme is unique in its focus on networking. EMBO Young Investigators are formally programme members for 3-years, and during this time are encouraged to interact with each other, EMBL group leaders and the growing network of former Young Investigators.


Funded activities are summarised in a graphical overview and include:

Detailed information about the benefits are listed in our programme guide (pdf).






1 April



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Gerlind WallonGerlind Wallon
Deputy Director
Programme Manager
T. +49 6221 8891 112

Rachel CoulthardRachel Coulthard
T. + 49 6221 8891 110