Call for application “Visiting Scientists 2024”

This fellowship programme invites senior researchers from abroad to spend 3 to 10 months in a research unit in Montpellier. Their research project is related in a transversal and innovative way to the fields of action of the Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions (MAK’IT): Food & Agriculture, Environment, Health. Each fellow contributes to the Institute mission of analysing, accompanying and accelerating transitions towards sustainable development.

Who can apply?

  • Nationality: researchers of any nationality who have not resided in France for more than 12 months during the three years preceding the deadline for applications.
  • Tax residence: candidates must be tax resident abroad.
  • Level of qualification: candidates must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree and have at least 10 years of research experience after obtaining the Ph.D. or equivalent degree by the date of arrival.
  • Professional affiliation: candidates must have an employment contract with a foreign university or research institution (other than a French research institution abroad), or be attached to it through an emeritus status, for the whole duration of their fellowship. A statement of affiliation, signed by the head of the home institution, will be required if selected at the end of the evaluation process.
  • Disciplines: all disciplines, including life sciences, engineering and social sciences and humanities.
  • Research project: it should preferably address in a transversal way the three main areas of the Institute’s work: Agriculture & Food, Environment and Health. If only some of these are addressed, it should include strong elements of inter/trans-disciplinarity and justification of how the applicant intends to engage with other disciplines and fields outside his/her own during the fellowship, including through collaboration with different local scientific partners. Relevance to and impact on societal issues and sustainable development transitions shall be highlighted.
  • Letter of invitation: applicants must provide a letter of invitation and financial commitment (see template here) from at least one research unit in Montpellier by which they wish to be hosted, signed by its director. Candidates may also be jointly hosted by several units, in which case the letter will be co-signed by the directors of all the participating units (see the list of eligible research units here). The Institute can assist candidates in obtaining this letter.
  • Languages: fluency in English is a must and an understanding of French would be an advantage.

Host terms

A hosting agreement will be signed between the University of Montpellier (on which MAK’IT is administratively dependent), the host research unit and the fellow to establish the following modalities:

Research facilities

Fellows invited by MAK’IT will be released from their usual obligations in their home institution and have the necessary availability to freely devote themselves to their research project and participate in the Institute’s activities.

During their stay in Montpellier, they each have an office equipped with a computer, Internet access and printing facilities within the research unit that hosting them.  Fellows are also given access to a meeting room and a 250-seat amphitheatre in the Institute’s premises.  The Institute facilitates access and extended borrowing rights in the libraries of the University of Montpellier, as well as the possibility of having lunch in the cafeteria of the research unit hosting him/her.

Fellows are entitled to a research allowance of up to €2,500, which may be paid in several instalments.  This allowance, which is for their exclusive use, will be used first to cover the organisation of their mandatory international event (interpretation, catering, air tickets for participants, etc.).


The Institute provides fellows with accommodation, whose locations are subject to availability.

The Institute has at its disposal newly renovated one and two bedroom apartments in the Villa Leenhardt, next to its premises. This type of accommodation is offered to researchers travelling alone or in couple.

For researchers travelling with their families, the Institute works with a seasonal apartment rental agency in Montpellier that offers a range of high quality, fully equipped apartments in the city centre. Requests for family accommodation (spouse and children under 18 years of age) must be indicated on the application form in order to be considered.

Monthly allowance

Fellows invited by the Institute remain attached to their home institution during their stay: they do not have an employment contract with the Institute and it is their responsibility to ask their home institution to continue to pay all or part of their salary.
The Institute provides visiting fellows with a non-negotiable monthly allowance of €2,700. The stipend is tax-free in France and this amount will enable them to cover most of the costs associated with their stay in Montpellier. Whether this tax-free status is recognised in their home countries is up to the Fellows.

Travel and visa

The host research organisation will pay for the fellow’s return economy class ticket between Montpellier and their usual place of residence.
Any immigration costs (i.e. the fellow’s visa) will be covered by MAK’IT.

Insurance and social security coverage

The Institute will not cover insurance and social security, which are the responsibility of the fellows themselves or their employers. The MAK’IT team will assist the fellows to select international health insurance companies in the event that their home institution’s coverage is not valid in France.

Before arriving in Montpellier, fellows must prove that they are properly covered for sickness, accidents at work and civil liability.

Administrative services

The MAK’IT team is at the fellows’ disposal to help them with the administrative procedures related to their installation in Montpellier and the organization of their scientific events.

Their families can also benefit from specific support from the Montpellier Welcome Desk for International Students and Researchers (SAIEC): schooling for children, help with the adaptation of spouses, French as a foreign language courses, etc.

Commitments of the fellow

A residency at MAK’IT is designed to allow invited fellows to carry out their research in an innovative and enriching way, by freely organising their activities and working hours. They benefit from MAK’IT support in their administrative procedures upon arrival. It also implies the acceptance of certain conditions:

Time spent in Montpellier

Fellows are expected to spend at least 90% of the duration of their stay in Montpellier (excluding periods when the Institute is closed). This residency requirement is essential to establish real partnerships with the local scientific community and other fellows. However this requirement is compatible with occasional absences, which must be notified by email beforehand to the host research unit and the MAK’IT team.

Contribution to MAK’IT activities 

Fellows will contribute to the interdisciplinary activities, meetings and reflections organised by the Institute during their stay, including the Fellows’ Seminar on Thursdays. They undertake to share the progress of their research with the other Fellows and the local academic community and to produce a short activity report at the end of their stay.

Organisation of an international public scientific event in Montpellier

With the support of the Institute’s team and resources (i.e. through the individual research allowance), fellows undertake to organise during their stay in Montpellier at least one academic event of international scope, open to the public, linked to their research project and in collaboration with the host research unit and the Montpellier academic community in general.

Communication and dissemination of results

Fellows remain the owners of the intellectual property rights of the results of their research within the framework of this fellowship with MAK’IT.
They undertake to contribute to MAK’IT’s publications and other means of communication on the progress of their research.
They will keep MAK’IT informed of their participation in external symposia, seminars or scientific events, as well as of their publications, prizes and awards received, or any new developments in their careers.
They authorise MAK’IT to publish their portrait and, if applicable, the results of their research carried out at MAK’IT for the Institute’s archives. The Fellows undertake to mention the support received from MAK’IT and to add the Institute’s logo in the event of wider dissemination.

Evaluation process

The Institute attaches great importance to the quality and impartiality of its selection process. Each application received that meets the eligibility criteria is evaluated by the MAK’IT Scientific Council (MASC), composed of independent international experts. The MASC gives a reasoned opinion on each application and forwards it to the MAK’IT Management Board (Strategic and Structuring Investment Committee of the University of Montpellier) for a final decision.

At the end of these two successive stages, the candidates will be informed of the result of the selection. Successful candidates will receive a letter of invitation from the MAK’IT Director, setting out the proposed conditions of stay.

Evaluation criteria

  • EXCELLENCE: Do the scientific background and international recognition of the candidate meet the standards set for this programme? Does the proposal entail research at the highest level?
  • INNOVATION: Does the proposed project break new ground? Does it hold the promises of new insights and the potential to produce new knowledge, including publications? Is the science-society interface addressed in the project?
  • INTERDISCIPLINARITY: To what extent does the proposed project draw on different disciplines? Will it facilitate inter/transdisciplinary exchange? To what extent do applicants demonstrate an openness to engage with issues and thinking outside their own field?
  • RELEVANCE: Is the project relevant to MAK’IT and its fields of action? Does it make a meaningful contribution to accelerating transitions in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? Are the proposed exchanges with the scientific communities in Montpellier significant enough to lead to extended collaborations?
  • FEASIBILITY: How convincing is the project design? How realistic is the research plan?

How to apply?

The required application documents, in English only, consist of:

  • The completed online application form
  • A detailed curriculum vitae (minimum two pages)
  • A 5-page research proposal (excluding bibliography) and, if possible, a 10-minute video presentation
  • A selection of two significant publications (articles or book chapters)
  • A letter of invitation(template here) from a research unit in Montpellier(list of eligible research units here)

Provisional calendar

  • 15 September – 13 December 2023: opening of the ‘VISITING SCIENTISTS’ call for applications
  • November – December 2023: Evaluation of applications by the MAK’IT Scientific Council and shortlisting of candidates
  • March 2024: final selection of candidates by the MAK’IT Board and communication of the results
  • 15 September 2024: start of the fellowships