Currently OSTASKILLS is not recruiting new fellows

Recruitment dates: call in May 2022

There will be two recruitment dates for the OSTASKILLS project. During that time frame candidates can apply for a position at the research institutes of their preference, taking into account the eligibility criteria as mentioned below. 

The first recruitment round was held in 2021 and resulted in 5 fellows that will perform research in Maastricht, Twente, Basel and Davos. 

The second recruitment round will be open from May 1st 2022 - 21st June 2022. During this time period we will accept application for positions at:

Maastricht University (1 fellow)

Twente University (1 fellow)

Lund University (1 fellow)

Wurzburg Universtity (2 fellows)


Eligibility criteria for candidates

An application to the doctoral training programme will only be considered eligible if it meets the following conditions:

  1. Candidates have no more than four years full-time equivalent research experience and have not been awarded with a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment (call deadline).
  2. Candidates must not have resided or carried out her/ his main activity (work, studies etc) in the country of their prospective host for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.
  3. applicants prove they are in possession of a Masters degree, approved by the prospective hosting organization 
  4. applicant is applying for a (open) position at on the partner organizations as mentioned above
  5. The application is completed with all the required documents, being a) the application Form, b) the candidates CV c) a copy of masters certificate (or formal letter by institution issuing the masters degree that the certificate will be awarded within 3 months after the deadline. d) motivation letter e) two signed letters of recommendation by two references.

Application Procedure

  1. Candidates are requested to contact the prospective research host by sending a first e-mail to the Project Manager Mr. Rob Wullems ( . They will be put in contact with the research host and get acquainted with their research, discuss plans and wishes and start exploring how these fit the expertise and facilities of the research groups.
  2. If the candidate is interested and wishes to apply for the doctoral research training position, she/he will indicate to the project manager by e-mail, and will receive clear instructions and documents that are needed for the application.
  3. Candidate will complete the application package and sent it before the end of the call deadline to the project manager at The remaining part of the procedure is explained in figure and text below. 

Selection workflow 

Eligibility check All submitted applications and supporting documents will go through an eligibility check. The MST will perform the eligibility check, for which a standardized form based on the eligibility criteria is used. The goal of this check is to screen and determine which proposals qualify for evaluation. All candidates are informed of the result of this eligibility check. Applicants that have been identified as ineligible, will have the chance to oppose to this decision addressing a motivated letter to the SeCo. The SeCo will double check the eligibility check and inform the candidate of its decision within two weeks.

First round evaluation The REFs will evaluate each proposal, filling out a standard evaluation form. Each REF attributes a score to each criterion and motivates this score. The REFs send their evaluation form to the MST, which sends each candidate their three evaluation forms, with an invitation to comment the arguments provided by the REFs. Based on all scores received, the MST will summarise the scores per candidate and calculate an average score for each applicant. The resulting provisional first round ranking will be discussed by the SeCo, together with the reactions of the applicants and the reference letters. Where needed the SeCo will contact the REFs to clarify and possibly adjust the scoring, to guarantee a level playing field for all candidates. This will result in the first-round ranking. A maximum of three candidates per job opportunity with the highest scores will be invited for the second-round evaluation. The SeCo will motivate its evaluation, stating both strong and weak points. This motivation will be sent to the candidate.

Second round evaluation The candidates will be interviewed by the REFs and  representatives of the SeCo. This interview will take place online, with a duration of approximately one hour. During the interview candidates will be asked to present themselves and their background for 15 minutes. Subsequently, the following topics will be discussed: motivation and drive, educational and theoretical background, experimental skills, choice of the host research group, overall potential to carry out the project successfully and future career ambitions. After the interview, the REFs and the SeCo members will each fill out the standard evaluation form.

Final selection The SeCo will discuss the results of the second-round evaluation and determines the final ranking for each available position. The candidate with the highest score will be invited to negotiate an employment contract. The lower scoring candidates will be put on a reserve list, ranked according to their score. 

Redress procedure  

The candidates could discuss the results of the selection procedure with one of the SeCo members and can legally appeal to the decision. A written complaint can be sent to the OSTASKILLS Board if the candidate has clear evidence of shortcomings in the evaluation process that may have affected the final decision. The Board will review how the application has been handled during the entire evaluation process. It is not a standard re-evaluation of the judgement of the REFs and SeCo. 

Evaluation Criteria

Applications are assessed based on the following criteria: 
1) academic profile of the early stage researcher;
2) motivation, and
3) references. The weight of each criterion in the overall rating of the application is indicated in the table below. 


The above criteria are evaluated by the Selection committee and the External Referees on a five-point scale. Decimal points may be given. On all criteria, proposals must score at least ‘3’ to be considered for funding. The scoring table is the following:

       Proposal fails to address criterion or cannot be assessed due to missing or incomplete information.

       Poor. Criterion is inadequately addressed, or there are serious inherent weaknesses.

       Fair. Proposal broadly addresses criterion, but there are significant weaknesses.

       Good. Proposal addresses the criterion well, but several shortcomings are present.

       Very good. Proposal addresses criterion very well, but a small number of shortcomings are present.

       Excellent. Proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of criterion. Shortcomings are minor. 

Equal opportunities

Assuring equal opportunities is a guiding principle throughout the doctoral programme. The OSTASKILLS partnership is aware, for example, that gender inequalities in research, innovation and entrepreneurship persist to exist at higher levels of a scientific career. To promote equal opportunities in the doctoral training programme, OSTASKILLS:

-  guarantees balanced participation of women and men in the evaluation and selection process. To this end, gender balance is assured amongst the scientific committees (at least 33% of the minority gender in each group).

-  guarantees an open and impartial selection procedure. OSTASKILLS explicitly encourages female and atypical-career researchers to apply, via a clear statement on call for applications. The selection committees follow the principles of “non-discrimination” and “gender balance” under the European Charter for Researchers, to avoid any form of discrimination and/or gender bias in considerations for selection of doctoral candidates. In case of an ex aequo prioritisation of two or more applications, preference is given to the applicant(s) of the gender in minority. Gender ratios will be monitored by the Doctoral Training Programme manager for each call and this information is fed back to all committees and persons involved in the selection process. Also, special attention is given to accommodate atypical career patterns with the aim to give applicants with an unusual career path or/and career breaks an equal opportunity in the evaluation.

-  uses explicit, precise and transparent selection criteria. Criteria are conceived based on standards relevant to the pursuit of a career in research and innovation, and appropriate indicators of performance that fit the life-cycle productivity of researchers (independently of gender and special needs).

OSTASKILLS provides for a working culture that i) fosters equal working conditions (pay, opportunities for training, access to grants and funding), ii) is aware of different possibilities and challenges connected to geographical mobility, and iii) accommodates private/ personal commitments and different career structures

Marie Curie research training project on Osteoarthritis