PEARL Program: Attracting Leading Researchers from Abroad to Luxembourg

With the PEARL programme, the FNR offers Luxembourg research institutions attractive funding to enable them to draw established and internationally recognised researchers from abroad to Luxembourg.

Through the recruitment of outstanding scientists in strategically important areas, the FNR aims to accelerate the development and strengthening of Luxembourg’s national research priorities.

Main Characteristics

The PEARL Programme offers five year grants of 3M€, respectively 4M€ for proposals that have substantial requirements regarding experimentation and instrumentation. In addition to the FNR grant, a financial contribution by the host institution is expected, as PEARL should be understood as a joint undertaking with the view to reach the institutional and national objective of achieving international visibility in the field.

PEARL provides financial support for all aspects that are required for the establishment of a research programme including funding for major research equipment, infrastructure or data collection etc. In addition, the FNR will provide assistance for the relocation of the PEARL grantee to Luxembourg.

The research programme will be accompanied by a Scientific Advisory Board that will help steer the programme and report on the progress of the PEARL to the FNR. The PEARL grantee will have the necessary freedom to make use of the PEARL budget during the course of the grant in order to successfully implement his/her research programme and build up his/her group.

Open Recruitment via PEARL (open PEARL)

The PEARL programme also allows for the submission of a proposal where the candidate is still to be recruited. Through this format institutions can advertise a very attractive position and are able to recruit the best candidates to Luxembourg. Institutions wishing to fill a position which they deem of particular importance to its strategic development may apply for such a PEARL position. These proposals will be evaluated on their strategic merit together with the ‘regular’ PEARL candidates in the SMA stage (see below). In case such a position is retained, a joint recruitment panel will be formed between the institution and the FNR and the PEARL position will be openly advertised.

Eligible Host Institutions and Candidates

The following organisations established within Luxembourg are eligible for financial support from the FNR under the PEARL programme:

  • 1. Public institutions performing research in Luxembourg;
  • 2. Non-profit associations and foundations performing research in Luxembourg and that have obtained a special authorization from the Ministry for Higher Education and Research.

For more information on eligibility on institutions, please consult the information on the FNR website.

The PEARL funding programme is directed at public research institutions in Luxembourg in order to facilitate attracting outstanding research professionals not yet established in Luxembourg. The candidate must not have his or her main research base in Luxembourg at the time of submission of the proposal.

Gender Equity

Through the PEARL programme, the FNR also wishes to address the apparent gap between genders in leading academic and research positions. The FNR therefore requires that the research institutions to ensure that at least 30% of the candidates to be proposed to the FNR in the years 2018-2021 are female researchers.

Application information

Proposals must be submitted jointly by the candidate and the host institution, but PEARL also allows for the submission of a proposal where the candidate is still to be recruited. This is reserved for particularly strategic positions within a host institution (e.g. Head of Department) only.

All applications have to be submitted through the FNR online Grant Management System.

Changes to 2020 Call

The application process has been split into a pre-proposal and full-proposal stage.

Steps and Time Schedule for the PEARL Calls

  • 15 October 2019, 14:00 (CET): Deadline for the submission of proposals
  • October - December 2019: Strategic merit Assessment by PEARL standing panel and shortlisting of proposals
  • 14 February 2020 14:00 (CET): Deadline for the submission of full proposals
  • February – April 2020: Evaluation of proposal by at least 3 international experts in the field and written feedback to applicants
  • April-May 2020: Interview sessions with expert panel to obtain funding recommendation
  • June - July 2020: The final funding decision by the Board of Administration of the FNR and communication to applicants

The scientific panel criteria

  • Excellence of the researcher: The experts will look in detail at the candidates ability to generate high impact scientific output and advance current knowledge in the field, his/her track record in terms of the advancement of people (e.g. through teaching, training, mentoring etc.) and his/her ability to exploit research findings (e.g. IP protection strategies, public engagement, collaboration with actors from the society and the economy etc.). The experts will also assess the appropriateness of the applicant’s track record with respect to the proposed research programme.
  • Scientific quality and innovativeness: The research programme presented within the proposal will be assessed in light of its innovativeness and the international competitiveness. The experts will assess if the scientific approach is sufficiently focused, appropriate and the objectives are achievable.
  • Expected Impact: Experts will look at the potential to establish a productive and sustainable research group which will make significant contributions to the current knowledge in the field and in the training of the next generation of researches. The experts will equally look at the group’s strategy for the dissemination and exploitation strategies of the research findings (e.g. IP protection strategies, public engagement, collaboration with actors from the society and the economy etc.). Ultimately the group’s contribution within the institutional setting to reaching critical mass and international visibility in the field will be looked at.
Application date
5 years
Europe : Luxemburg
Social sciences
Required post-doc experience
Between 0 and 99 years
Grants available
Award granted
€ 3-4.000.000