First step: define the research topic and host research centre

Once you have decided to apply to La Caixa Junior Leader fellowship the first step is to decide the idea and challenges that your research project will address and the host research organisation with which you will apply. It is advisable to start early contacting research organisations that fit your research plans in terms of infrastructure, equipment, and expertise of their researchers. A declaration of interest from the prospective host institution is required. Note that the choice of research centre is not binding and can be negotiated after the award of the fellowship.

The application process

To apply for these fellowships, you must use the online application platform available at the La Caixa Foundation website. In the application platform you have to fill in the sections described below. We give you some tips on how to approach these:

  • Personal data, Education, Professional and research experience, and documentation:

Describe your education, career path, achievements in research, articles, patents, and other merits. Under other merits you can highlight your teaching duties, invited conferences and lectures, commission membership, your main collaborations, supervision of researchers and project management among other scientific activities. Please bear in mind that 50% of the evaluation of the pre-selection process is based on the CV of the candidate. Thus, we strongly recommend to give as much detail as possible so as to reflect that you have been trained by highly prestigious researchers in the best institutions, and that you possess a unique CV and research background. Show how your unique research path have allowed you to develop exceptional research competences and soft skills, such as leadership and maturity in research. Altogether, your profile must stand out to differentiate you from all other candidates. Your goal in this section is to demonstrate that you are the perfect candidate to impact society with your scientific contributions.

  • Prospective research centre:

Describe the host research centre including excellence indicators, instrumentation and infrastructure, expertise of the principal investigators and supervisor, and fit of the project in the centre.

Tip: Give a detailed description as to why the chosen research centre perfectly matches the proposed project and how the expertise of the researchers based on the host organisation will provide you the best support for your ideas to flourish. It is highly advisable to avoid having your PhD tutor as your grant supervisor.

  • Personal statement:

Describe your research career background and proposed research in 7 pages organised as follows:

 Summary of the research career directly related to the project’s proposal and main line of research (3 pages max).

 Summary of the proposed research project (4 pages max without references).

In further posts we will give you our recommended approach to writing a personal statement.

  • Reference letters:

Provide up to 5 reference letters (minimum of 2) from relevant university professors and researchers. It is best to present 5 reference letters. Letters from world-leading researchers are very positively evaluated in La Caixa Junior Leader fellowships.

  • Ethical issues:

Provide a table with the ethical aspects of the research proposal.