2014 « Rising stars » call for applications

Bringing Aix-Marseille University (AMU) to the top research universities worldwide is the ambition of Aix-Marseille University and its partners. Therefore we have applied for the “Initiatives of excellence” call for projects, which is the most important call of the French government’s higher education and research program named “Investment for the future”.

Aix-Marseille is one of the 8 French top sites, successfully awarded in 2012 thanks to the Aix-Marseille Excellence Initiative A*MIDEX application. AMU and its partners now aim at implementing the A*MIDEX initiative, especially by rising up towards excellence the Aix-Marseille’s scientific potential, which is already outstanding, with over 4500 teacher/researchers, 4000 doctoral students and 118 research units, including international leaders in several disciplines. Right now, the Aix-Marseille site also ranks second in France with regard to the national research organizations’ investment.

In this context, human resources strategy, especially talents management, is one of the drivers for excellence to activate through A*MIDEX. Indeed, attracting and settling more new young scientific talents on the site, by granting these “Rising Stars” an adequate environment and enabling them to fulfill their potential, is a key investment for the future of Aix-Marseille. The means devoted by A*MIDEX to this pro-active strategy of recruitment of young academics constitute the “Rising stars” Fund which is the subject of this call for applications.

The objectives of the “Rising stars” Fund are the following:

  • Settling young scientific talents coming from outside of the Aix-Marseille site, through A*MIDEX « Rising stars » packaged chairs
  • Developing a peculiar research theme thanks to the laureate’s scientific project, surrounded (if possible) by a young promising team within AMU’s and its partners’ research units
  • Increasing the laboratories’ research capacities: strengthening existing themes, bringing new abilities
  • Preparing the replacement of the life blood of AMU and its partners on the site.

Targets of the « Rising stars » call for applications:

  • Profile of the applicants: The applicants should be young researchers or teacherresearchers external to the Aix-Marseille site, not having obtained a PhD in Aix-Marseille, and meeting one of the two following criteria:
    1) Being of foreign nationality and not occupying a permanent position in France;
    2) Being of French or foreign nationality and practicing abroad.

Moreover, the applicants should:
1) Either be an ERC1-grantee (starting- or consolidator)
2) Or prove to have ability and required characteristics to reach such ERC recognition

  • Field of the projects: all scientific domains and fields in the process of being developed on the site, especially in A*MIDEX 5 priority themes: Energy; Environment, planet and universe; Health and life sciences; Sciences and technologies; Societies, cultures and exchanges.

The applicant and his/her project should be backed up by a host research unit of AMU and its partners, through the sponsorship of one or more manager(s) of research unit(s).


1.2 M€, including the laureates’ wages, to recruit 3 Rising stars on 3 packaged chairs.
Wages of contract staff (PhDs, Postdocs…), operating costs, complementary facilities and administrative and technical support are eligible expenses.

Term of the chair: 2 years that may be renewed once with the same term.

Selection process:

The applications will be assessed by international specialists of the research field. Then for each A*MIDEX priority theme, a categorization of applications (should be selected, may be selected, should not be selected) will be proposed by international generalist experts. The A*MIDEX Steering Committee will make the final decision taking into account the experts’ recommendations and AMU’s and its partners’ wider strategic objectives. The selected applicants will be hired as contract researchers (2 year contract).

Admissibility criteria:

On-line submission of the complete file, conform to the model of application, on the A*MIDEX website, before the deadline. No addition will be accepted after the closing of the submission website at the specified time.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Being external to the Aix-Marseille site, not having obtained a PhD in Aix-Marseille and meeting one of the two following criteria:
    1) Being of foreign nationality and not occupying a permanent position in France;
    2) Being of French or foreign nationality and practicing abroad .
  • Being :
    1) Either an ERC-grantee (starting- or consolidator),
    2) Either eligible to ERC starting- or consolidator within the 2 following years (i.e. having 2 to 12 years of experience since completion of PhD) and make a commitment to apply for it during the 2 years of the Rising Star chair
  • Being sponsored by the director of a host research unit from the Aix-Marseille site, and providing a letter confirming this support.

Selection criteria:

  • Profile of the applicant and matching with the scientific project
  • Ability to develop an own research theme and to nucleate a young promising team
  • Potential to reach international recognition (ERC starting or consolidator grant)
  • Coherence of the project with the site’s strategy and support from a labeled research unit to ensure the project’s feasibility
  • Scientific and technical quality of the project
  • Impact of the project : in terms of knowledge progress and importance of the results targeted
  • Pulling effect expected on the perimeter of excellence and over the site of Aix-Marseille
  • Sustainability of the project, potential to secure the applicant and the team at the end of the project.

Deadline to submit an application: January 10th, 2014 at 17.00, Paris time.

Conditions to submit an application: on-line submission of the complete application (pdf file) on the website http://amidex.univ-amu.fr/

For more information: amidex-direction@univ-amu.fr