On 1st October 2008, the law reforming the former national PhD and postdoctoral grant scheme BFR (Bourses Formation-Recherche) under the new title of Aides à la Formation-Recherche (AFR) entered into force. While the BFR scheme has so far been managed by the Ministry of Research, the future AFR grant scheme will be managed by the National Research Fund (FNR).
The AFR grant scheme comprises two activities: the funding of PhD grants (AFR-PhD) and the funding of postdoctoral grants (AFR-PD). In this document, when using AFR, both schemes are meant; otherwise the text will refer to AFR-PD.
The main objectives of the future AFR grants are:
- to attract promising researchers into Luxembourg and promote their integration into the Luxembourg R&D environment,
- to enlarge the national R&D base by increasing the number of PhD and postdoc researchers emphasizing the national R&D priority domains,
- to promote the AFR scheme in Luxembourg and abroad,
- to promote the mobility of researchers in general,
- to improve working conditions for researchers in Luxembourg by introducing work contracts for the grantees wherever possible,
- to ensure a high scientific/technological quality of projects carried out within the AFR framework, by an evaluation and selection based primarily on scientific quality, and a follow-up of the AFR grantees and their projects,
-to create a network of AFR beneficiaries,
- to promote public/private partnerships
- to ensure professional management of the AFR scheme within the National Research Fund.
While it was not possible under the former BFR scheme to complement a PhD grant with a postdoc grant, which was clearly a deficit in terms of career building, the reformed AFR scheme allows this cumulation under the condition that the AFR-PD project is carried out in a different country from where the applicant has been principally (>12 months) working in the 24 months preceding the beginning of the intended postdoctoral funding period.
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