Results of the second Call for Proposals

We are grateful for the 425 applications which we received for the second call for proposals and for the huge interest in the TALENT Doctoral Programme.

The 425 applications consisted of 397 unique applications and were divided between 125 female and 272 male. (For the distribution when it comes to citizenship, departments and programme areas, please see the presentation/statistics in the right hand box.) 111 of the 397 unique applications were eligible, meaning that 286 of the applications submitted did not pass step one of the evaluation, the eligibility and admissibility check. The 286 were notified accordingly by email (individually) on Wednesday 17 April, 2019. (Six of the 286 applicants were notified a bit later as it took a little longer to unravel the eligibility.) In other words, 111 applicants made it to step two of the evaluation, the pre-selection at department level.

The evaluation process

It was decided to send 41 of the 111 eligible applications, which went to step two of the evaluation, on to step three, the expert/international review. The 70 applicants, who did not make the cut at step 2 of the evaluation, received an explanatory email with a rejection on Thursday 16 May, 2019. Moreover, the 41 applicants, whose proposals were reviewed as part of step three of the evaluation, were duly notified of this by email on Thursday 16 May, 2019.

At step 3, the expert/international review, the 41 applications were each evaluated by two evaluators. 22 applications reached the employment threshold of four; 19 did not.

On Tuesday 4 June 2019, the Research Committee at the Faculty of Science convened as part of step 4, the final selection of candidates, and decided on the candidates to hire. The committee decided to offer employment to all 22 candidates above the employment threshold of four and to send one application off to a third review and to reject the applications from the remaining 18 candidates. A third evaluator was included for one of the 19 applications because the two designated evaluators’ opinion differed greatly, at the same time as it would be possible for the application to reach the threshold of four, in case of a third evaluation. Despite of the third review, the application did not reach the employment threshold of four.

Shortly after the meeting, all 41 candidates were informed individually of the decision by email. The email contained information on how to access and download the consensus report, incl. the overall score through the recruitment/application system. The applicants, who received a rejection, were offered the opportunity to provide comments to the consensus report no later than Wednesday 12 June, 2019 12.00 CET. Nine of the applicants sent comments to the consensus report and the TALENT secretariat replied to these requests.

Reasons for Rejection at Step one: the Eligibility and Admissibility Check

It was not possible to give an individual and detailed reply to all 286 applicants as to why their proposal was rejected at step one of the evaluation. However, we can convey that the issues in relation to the second call for proposals were the same as for the first call for proposals (see the TALENT website):

  • The mandatory templates were not used or only to some extent.
  • The required documentation was missing, incl. one of the requested English tests with the required score.
  • The eligibility criteria (mobility, research experience, MSc level, see here) were not met.

It is important for us to stress that the rejections at step one cover a great variation: some applicants used the mandatory templates and submitted the required documentation but did not live up to the requirement towards e.g. research experience or MSc level. Other applicants did not submit any documents and therefore did not comply with any of the requirements.

We would also like to underline that we evaluated the applications at step one, the eligibility and admissibility check according to the eligibility, admissibility and evaluation criteria as communicated and explained in the job advert, the Guide for Applicants (incl. the four mandatory templates), the Evaluation Guide, the FAQ and on the TALENT website. It was clearly stated that all requirements must be met for an application to be considered eligible.

The TALENT secretariat acknowledges that the applicants invested time and effort in applying. Thus, we would like to emphasize that we on our part had several employees with long and extensive experience with PhD education and the European Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, in particular the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions check the applications at step one. This was to ensure that only applications meeting the clearly stated eligibility criteria proceeded to step two in the evaluation process and that the applications were assessed in a fair and responsible manner.

Reasons for Rejection at Step two: the Pre-selection at Department Level

At this stage, the proposals were rejected due to lack of sufficient match between the applications and the departments and/or because the applications were not competitive enough compared to the excellent applications submitted to the TALENT Doctoral Programme.

We would like to stress that the TALENT Doctoral Programme is based on excellence and that the big challenge when applying is the project description. Even though applicants meet the criteria at the first step of the evaluation and have drawn up and submitted a project description, the quality of the descriptions vary. When evaluating the applications and assessing whether an applicant would be able to live up to what is expected of a PhD student and conduct the described project, we look at the track record of the applicant, i.e. grades and experience.