General questions

  • What is INAF?

    The National Institute for Astrophysics, INAF, is the main Italian research institute for the study of the Universe. It promotes, implements and coordinates research, nationally and internationally, in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. It designs and develops innovative technologies and state-of-the-art instrumentation for the study and exploration of the Cosmos. It promotes the dissemination of scientific culture through educational projects and the popularization of astronomy for schools and society.
    For further information, please visit: www.inaf.it

  • What research areas is INAF focused on?

    INAF research scientific research areas focused on the following sectors:

    • Galaxies and Cosmology
    • Stars, Stellar Populations and Interstellar medium
    • Sun and Solar System
    • Relativistic and Particle Astrophysics
    • Advanced Technology and Instruments
    • any other astrophysics subject (e.g.: exoplanets, astrobiology, etc.), relevant for INAF scientific activities.
  • How many fellowships AstroFIt2 Programme offers?

    The Programme, within 2 calls, offers a total of 18 fellowships to carry out research in one of the INAF research structures in Italy.

Eligibility Criteria

  • What does “reseach experience” means?

    “Research experience” means activities connected to the search for and creation of new knowledge. Every kind of research experience, whether institutionalised or independent, is relevant; however, applicants must be able to produce proof/records (such as publications, etc.). Periods of time spent doing something other than research (such as attending taught classes, teaching, etc.) do not count to reach the requested 4 years of full-time research experience allowing applicants to be eligible to apply to the AstroFIt2 calls for proposals; accordingly, periods of time spent doing research on a half-time basis only count half.

  • The 4 years of full-time research experience are they calendrical years?

    The four years mentioned above are calendrical years, not academic years. Thus, every month counts. It is therefore not sufficient for applicants to state that they have obtained their relevant degree in the respective academic year (e.g., 2012/2013), it is also important to give the specific date (e.g., 2 August, 2012).

  • Am I eligible if I have carried out  research activity/ies with non Italian institutions/universities for at least twenty four (24) months in the three (3) years immediately prior to the call deadline?

    This condition do not fulfil the eligibility requirements if you still have resided in Italy, both conditions activity/residence apply.


  • How do I apply?

    Details regarding the application,  the template of the application form and the letter of commitment (to be signed by the Director of the INAF host structure) can be found in the How to apply page under “Downloadables » AstroFIt2 Guide for Applicants”.

  • Is it possible to choose an Organisation associated to INAF as hosting Research?

    No it is not, because the project has to be carried out at one of the INAF research structures broadly distributed in Italy.

  • Can the Supervisor work in an other institution than INAF and be only associated to INAF scientific activities?

    The Supervisor has to be INAF staff member and he has to work in the INAF Structure chosen by the fellow.

  • Who are the “Referees” indicated by the applicant in the application form?

    The two referees are international experts in the research field of the project; they write, sign and email the reference letter to astrofit@inaf.it before the deadline of the call for proposals.

  • Can I submit my application before having the referee letters?

    Yes, because the referees will send their letters directly to astrofit@inaf.it, before the deadline of the call for proposals.

  • Has INAF specific requirements regarding the letters of reference?

    The only requirement is that they have to be dated and signed and e-mailed directly by the referees to astrofit@inaf.it before the deadline of the call for proposal. The subject of the email shall contain the name of the applicant.

Grant in general

  • What is the salary offered by INAF? What types of expenses are covered?

    The employment contract for the fellows will fix a yearly reference rate for monthly living allowances of 45.000 EUR/year. This amount, paid in different monthly installments, includes the provisions for all compulsory deductions under national applicable legislation, social charges and health coverage (Law 20 December 2010, n. 240, art. 22).

    Fellows are entitled to 3 travel allowances. It amounts to 1.500 EUR/year and it is subject to national applicable deductions, irrespective of the actual travel costs incurred by the researcher.

    The host INAF structure will receive from the INAF headquarter a yearly amount of 6.000 EUR for the benefit of the fellow (Research cost contribution).

    An accident and health insurance will be paid by INAF in favour of the fellow.

  • Who will evaluate my application?

    Each application shall be evaluated at least by five components of the Selection Committee.

    The Selection Committee will be appointed according to the following criteria:

    • internationally recognized experience in astrophysics related fields;
    • significant experience in international research projects in astrophysics related fields;
    • high level and wide range of competencies in astrophysics;
    • gender balance;
    • at least two members non-resident in Italy.
  • Which are the most important evaluation criteria for the Selection Committee (SC)?

    Scientific and technological (S&T) quality of the proposed project as well as the curriculum of the applicant and the content of the reference letters will be the main aspects to be evaluated, as indicated in the following table:

    S&T Quality
    Weighting: 60%
    Weighting: 40%
    • Scientific and/or technological quality, including originality and innovative nature of the proposed project
    • Timeliness and relevance of the project
    • Integration level of the proposed project with the main activities of the hosting INAF Research Centre
    • Research methodology
    • Impact of the proposed project on the scientific development of the proponent
    • Research experience in public and/or private institutions
    • Previous/present participation to scientific programmes/collaborations, and associated role/level, also including programme management capability
    • Achieved results, including publications, patents, invited talks at international meeting, international awards
    • Reference letters

    Both evaluation criteria (S&T Quality and Researcher) will be scored out of 10. A threshold of 6 will be applied to each criterion and an overall threshold of 70/100 will be applied to all proposals.

    Proposals failing to meet the overall threshold will not be placed in the final qualified ranked lists.

  • When the selection procedure will be concluded?

    The selection procedure will be concluded, with the publication of the final approved ranked list on the AstroFIt2 website, not later than four (4) months from the deadline for applications.

  • How to submit a request for redress?

    A candidate may submit a request for redress to astrofit@inaf.it after the communication on his/her application ineligibility; or upon reception of the feedback on the outcome of the evaluation, if he/she thinks that there has been a shortcoming in the way a proposal has been evaluated.

    The request for redress will be raised within 20 days from receiving the related communication. The redress procedure is not meant to call into question the scientific judgment made by the Selection Committee; it will look into procedural shortcomings and/or factual errors.

    The Programme Board will examine all such complaints and will not itself evaluate the proposal; or may recommend the evaluation or the re-evaluation of the proposal. A reply will be sent to the complainants not later than one month after the deadline for redress request.

  • Does the applicant need to contact the host institution before submitting the application?

    Yes, it is necessary.

    At the application stage, candidates have to identify and contact the host INAF Structure suitable for their research project. Before the deadline, the Director of the Structure have to sign the Letter of Commitment (template is available on the How to apply page under “Downloadables » Template for the letter of commitment).

  • Can I reapply at the second call, if my application has already been evaluated as unsuccessful at the first call for proposals?

    Yes, a second application is possible. However, all the documents must be submitted again.

  • When can I start my research project?

    Expected starting date of the fellowship will be within six (6) months from the award of the fellowship (on the 1st day of the month). If the candidate does not sign the contract within this period, he/she will surrender his/her entitlement to the research fellowship.

  • The project can start any day of the month?

    The fellowship starting date is always on the 1st day of the month indicated by the researcher.