The Government has approved this Tuesday in the Council of Ministers, at the proposal of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, a total of 522 million euros for the main call for research projects in Spain and to be able to hire about 1,100 predoctoral researchers. The Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, has specified that the State Research Agency (AEI) will allocate 412 million euros for “the most important set of aid for the promotion of scientific and technical research” in Spain, which consolidates the 14% increase made in 2020, he said.
Regarding the aid for pre-doctoral contracts, the minister explained that the AEI will allocate 110 million euros for the hiring of young researchers, who will be able to carry out the doctoral thesis in solvent groups of universities, Public Research Organizations (OPI) or private centers without encouragement profit, and access more options for international mobility and mobility within the public and private sectors.
Morant recalled that with the pandemic and “the long-awaited vaccine, the whole world has learned two golden lessons: science saves lives and only knowledge can guide the best decisions in any field.” For this reason, he stressed that the Government has allocated “the largest budget in science and innovation in the history of our country”, a total of 3,843 million euros in 2022.
This call encourages the Spanish scientific community to tackle high-quality, novel and relevant scientific and technical research projects that contribute to the progress of knowledge, as well as to solving problems in society and the growth of the economy. Likewise, they allow the incorporation of predoctoral recruits in training to carry out their doctoral thesis in the most recognized research groups and centers. After the consolidation of the increase of 50 million euros approved in 2020 (in 2019 the AEI allocated 365 million euros to this call), the minister explained that, with these grants, “for the second year in a row, the scientific community is counting again with a powerful means of financing to generate knowledge and specific solutions that improve people’s lives, the country’s economy and solve the urgent challenges of the next decade ”. The grants from this call will finance, on the one hand, non-oriented research projects, which are motivated by scientific curiosity and whose primary objective is to advance knowledge, regardless of the time horizon and its scope of application.
On the other hand, it will also finance oriented research projects, which aim to solve specific problems linked to thematic priorities associated with global challenges and industrial competitiveness of society. “It will be the results of these scientific investigations and their application that will change the energy model of our country and, therefore, will help us, in the medium term, to solve problems such as the electricity bill,” explained Morant.
The projects will have a duration of three or four years, and exceptionally two, and may be carried out individually or in a coordinated manner to promote the creation of more powerful scientific cooperation schemes, so as to achieve objectives that could hardly be considered in a context more restricted execution. The projects will be developed by research teams, under the direction of one or more principal researchers. The budget will be used for personnel, equipment and consumables, travel expenses, scientific publications, patents and other expenses directly related to the project.
This call is part of the State Program to promote Scientific-Technical Research and its Transfer, of the State Plan for Scientific, Technical and Innovation Research 2021-2023.
These grants, which constitute the main call for pre-doctoral researchers, are associated with a research project and are part of the State Program for the Promotion of Talent and its Employability. The grants are for four years and allow pre-doctoral researchers to carry out their doctoral theses in research projects of groups with scientific and academic solvency belonging to universities, OPI and other research centers and, with a singular character, in centers of excellence Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu units, and in public R&D centers for agricultural and food research dependent on the autonomous communities, participating in the Coordinating Commission for Agricultural Research INIA-CCAA. The annual aid for each of the pre-doctoral contracts will be 21,100 euros for each of the first two annuities, 22,300 for the third annuity and 27,900 for the fourth annuity.
These grants finance salaries and social security expenses for recruitment, as well as expenses for stays in other R&D centers and enrollment in doctoral studies. This call also contemplates additional aid of 6,860 euros for each researcher hired, which may be used to finance stays they carry out in R&D centers other than those to which they are attached in order to carry out activities to improve their training and promote development of his thesis, as well as completing and consolidating the research training acquired. It is also possible to finance the tuition expenses derived from the doctorate teachings – academic tutelage and training credits – in a Spanish, public or private university, of the contracted researcher corresponding to the courses in which he is enrolled during the validity of the aid for hiring in the predoctoral stage.