EUI Florence Max Weber Postdoctoral Program (MWP)

The Max Weber Programme started in September 2006 and is now the largest international postdoctoral programme in the Social Sciences and Humanities in Europe. The Programme is located at the European University Institute in Florence. It is funded by the European Commission (DG Education and Culture), which provides bursaries of one or two years for around 50-55 Fellowships. These bursaries are open to scholars from anywhere in the world (not just nationals of an EU Member State) who have received a doctorate in economics, law, history, social and political sciences, or a related field, within the past 5 years. The Programme also includes a number of Fellows supported by other funders, such as national and other non-EU research bodies. Fellows are selected on the basis of their research accomplishments and potential, their academic career interests, and the availability of the EUI faculty to provide mentorship.

All Fellows are affiliated with one of the four EUI departments or the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and are welcome to participate in departmental activities. Two year Fellowships involve additional academic activities in the EUI departments, such as limited graduate teaching and mentoring Ph.D students.

The Programme also organizes each year a series of Lectures bringing to the EUI community prestigious scholars from around the world and across disciplines. 

The working language of the Programme is English.

Why become a Max Weber Fellow

The aim of the Max Weber Programme is to provide the Fellows with the experience of membership of a vibrant academic community, to which they make a central contribution. The Programme offers Fellows the unique opportunity to share their research experience with peers from different disciplines and nationalities on a daily basis, whilst enhancing professional academic skills and acquiring the MWP Teaching Certificate. The Programme not only supports their research but also helps them develop the skills they will need in their future academic careers.

Located in Villa Paola within the magnificent setting of the European University Institute campus in San Domenico di Fiesole near Florence, the Programme gives Fellows access to some of the best research facilities in the world, provides them with research funds, and encourages them to collaborate and learn from each other through thematic research groups and the organisation of workshops and conferences involving Fellows, members of the Professoriate and distinguished academics from outside the EUI.

Support is provided for academic writing in English and applying for research grants by the EUI Language Centre/FIESOLE Group under the umbrella Academic Communication Skills. A structured Programme covers all aspects of an academic career, including the opportunity to teach in some of Europe’s top universities.

The Academic Careers Observatory

As a service to the wider academic community the Programme hosts the Academic Careers Observatory (ACO), an open access online resource for scholars at any stage in their careers. The ACO website provides a comparative framework on the state of affairs of academic careers around the world. It offers exhaustive data on topics such as career curricula, salary levels, degree of openness and job security in 40 different national settings and updated information about available research funding opportunities.

The Academic Careers Observatory and the Programme help Fellows develop a strategy for identifying and applying for jobs, and Max Weber Fellows can be found in top academic institutions across the globe.

Deadlines for applications

The annual deadline for applications for the Max Weber Fellowships is 18 October but please note that applications for self-funded Fellowships are accepted up to the following 25 March and are considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Who Can Apply? 

The Programme is open to applicants who are within 5 years of the completion of their Ph.D. from anywhere in the world, regardless of nationality, and is not restricted to citizens of the EU. All things being equal, preference is given to those who have recently completed a doctorate, not had a postdoctoral position before and/or are on the job market.The language of the programme is English and applicants must fulfil the English language requirements as outlined in the section on Eligibility.

Applicants for Max Weber Fellowships who are nationals and/or residents (please check details on eligibility) of Australia, Finland, Poland, Slovenia or Japan may be considered for the grant schemes that are run by funding bodies in these countries. We also anticipate that there may be similar arrangements for the Greek and Portuguese nationals.

For How Long?

The vast majority of Max Weber Fellowships are for one year.

  • The Departments of History and Civilization (HEC) and Law (LAW) only offer 1 year Fellowships.
  • The Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS) and the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) offer both 1 year and 2 year Fellowships. Fellows in the Department of SPS who stay on for a second year will have the possibility of applying for a Part-time professor contract (level PR9/1) for 12 months involving some teaching duties and mentoring Ph.D. researchers: net remuneration would be approximately 820 EUR in addition to the monthly grant.
  • Most applicants to the Department of Economics (ECO) are selected for a 2-year fellowship. Fellows in the Department of ECO who stay on for a second year will have the possibility of applying for a Part-time professor contract (level PR9/1) for 12 months involving some teaching duties and mentoring Ph.D. researchers: net remuneration would be approximately 820 EUR in addition to the monthly grant.

Candidates for SPS, ECO and RSCAS are asked to indicate the desired length of their Fellowship (1, 2 or, in the case of ECO only, 3 years) when applying. Candidates for HEC and LAW can only stipulate 1 year. All Fellowships run from September to August. The EUI reserves the right to determine the length of the award, be it 12,  24 or 36 months. The period offered will be indicated in the award letter.

Eligibility

  • Candidates must have received their Ph.D within the past 5 years or have official approval to defend their thesis by the time of the start of the programme (1 September).  Therefore, to apply for 2019-20 they should have received or submitted their Ph.D. between 1/9/2014 and 1/9/2019 and the Ph.D defence should take place no later than 31/12/2019.
  • Extensions to the five-year rule are allowed for applicants whose academic career has been interrupted for maternity or paternity leave, illness or mandatory military service. Cite circumstances in the application form in the field 'Additional Notes'. Successful candidates will be asked to provide supporting documents. 
  • EUI graduates can only apply for a Max Weber Fellowships after having been away from the EUI and in a full-time occupation or another fellowship for at least a year after defending their Ph.D
  • Candidates of any nationality are eligible for the Max Weber Fellowships.  
  • The expected level of English proficiency is level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). English certificate is not requested as part of the application, but successful candidates will be requested to provide a certificate/supporting document on registration. This can be one of the international certificates listed below, or a supporting document showing that the candidate has written the doctorate, or published an article or a book chapter of at least 6000 words in English, or has studied and hold a qualification from a University where the language of instruction and assessment was English. Native English speakers are exempt of proof.

Duration

Fellowships are awarded for:

  • 12 months for all applicants to the Department of History and Civilization (HEC) and Law (LAW)
  • 12 or 24 months for applicants to the Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS) or the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS). 
  • Standardly 24 months or exceptionally 36 months for ECO applicants.  

Candidates in relevant disciplines must indicate the preferred period in their application (12, 24 or 36 months). The EUI reserves the right to determine the length of the award, be it 12,  24 or 36 months. The period offered will be indicated in the award letter.

All Fellowships run from September to August.

In the case a fellow arrives after the beginning of September or leaves before the fellowship ends (i.e. before 20 July), the grant will be accordingly reduced/terminated, and no grant will be paid for the month of August.

Residence

Fellows are required to live in the area of Florence for the duration of their Fellowship so that they may play an active part in the programme and in the academic activities of their department. 

Grant

The basic grant is 2,000 EUR per month.

Fellows in the Departments of Economics (ECO) and Political and Social Sciences (SPS) who stay on for a second year will have the possibility of applying for a Part-time professor contract (level PR9/1) for 12 months involving some teaching duties and mentoring Ph.D. researchers. This appointment and the work involved would need to be agreed with the Department and the Director of the Max Weber Programme and approved by the EUI Executive Committee. The gross remuneration would be approximately 1000 EUR per month, which would be approximately 820 EUR after deductions. This would be in addition to the basic grant of 2000 EUR per month and would involve no deduction from the grant.

Successful applicants who receive other grants or salaries must disclose this to the EUI. The amount of the Fellowship will be fixed at a lower rate (minimum 1,250 EUR per month) depending on the amount of the additional income (upon production of relevant supporting documents).

If applicable, family allowances will be added to the basic grant (see below). 

Family Allowance

A household allowance of up to 300 EUR per month is paid to Fellows with a partner if the partner lives with them in Florence and on condition that the partner's income is less than 2,000 EUR per month. The sum of income and allowance can not exceed 2,000 EUR per month (i.e. if the income is more than 1,700 EUR, the allowance will be paid only to top up to 2,000 EUR).

There is a dependants allowance of 200 EUR per month for each dependent child.

Fellows are entitled to these allowances if they are not receiving any similar allowance from another source, and on presentation of relevant documents (marriage certificate or a document that proves that you are living together in Florence, birth certificates).

A school or university certificate is required for dependent children in full-time education and over the age of 18.

The MWP operates a maternity leave policy whereby Fellows who give birth during their Fellowship are eligible to up to four months paid maternity leave, with their Fellowship being extended accordingly. Fellows who will give birth between notification of the award of the Fellowship and its commencement the following September may request to defer the Fellowship for a year.

Taxation

The Fellowship is not taxed by the Institute. Fellows are, however, required to comply with any other tax provisions which may be applicable to them. 

Medical Insurance

Fellows must have adequate medical insurance cover during their stay at the Institute.

Fellows can either provide proof of their own insurance scheme or subscribe to the EUI's Cigna Insurance Scheme at their own expense.

Research Expenses

All Fellows receive 1000 EUR a year for eligible research expenses, such as attendance at conferences. An additional 500 EUR can be awarded at the discretion of the Director for Fellows on the job market. Economics fellows on the job market in the second or third year receive 2000 EUR.

Travel Expenses

Fellows (but not their families) receive reimbursement for the incoming trip from their place of origin to Florence, and for the outgoing trip to their destination at the end of their fellowship.

  • First-class rail (travel by car is also reimbursed on this basis)
  • Economy class air fare

The maximum amount for travel reimbursement is 1,200 EUR including both incoming and outgoing trip. Reimbursement of higher amounts and any extra costs can be authorized by the Programme Director upon a justified special request. Taxi expenses are not reimbursed.

Removal/installation Expenses

There is no provision for removal or installation expenses.

Selection Criteria

Candidates are reviewed by the Director of the MWP and the professors of the relevant Department/the RSCAS, and selected by the Max Weber Steering Committee according to the following three selection criteria:

  • Academic accomplishments and potential: Academic excellence is assessed on the basis of the candidate’s contributions (publications, PhD thesis, etc. as outlined in the CV), their plans and commitment to an academic career as outlined in their ‘Academic career statement’, and other supporting evidence (i.e. two letters of reference). Preference is given to applicants in the early stages of their post-doctoral career, who can gain most from the programme.
  • Research Proposal: the proposal must be clear and well structured, with well-defined and realistic goals that can be achieved within the duration of the fellowship.
  • Mentorship: The capacity and availability of EUI faculty, be it in the departments or the RSCAS, to provide mentorship is taken into account; however, while having common research interests may be helpful, it is not a necessity for mentorship.

N.B.: In order to keep the application process open and fair, the policy of the EUI is not to offer individual guidance and advice on project proposals. Prospective applicants are also requested not to contact EUI faculty members regarding potential mentorship. When searching for potential mentors, applicants are requested to consult the departmental web pages where research themes and faculty profiles are listed, and to indicate who they regard as potential mentors on the appropriate space in the application form.

Final approval is made by the Executive Committee of the EUI. Their decision is final and no appeal is possible. The Academic Service will inform all candidates by e-mail by the end of January at latest.

Selection Procedure

All the applications are first reviewed by the Professors that applicants have themselves indicated as prospective mentors. We take mentoring very seriously and a fit with a mentor is one of our criteria. We rarely allocate more than one Fellow to any given mentor. All Professors make a number of nominations to the department, which they discuss collectively, selecting a pool of candidates that is normally 3-4 times the number we eventually choose whose research proposal and academic career plans they regard as both indicating potential and a fit with the resources available in the Institute, including getting the most out of the sort of programme we offer.

Along with one of the programme administrators, the Director then discusses this pool of candidates with the department’s representative on the steering committee, benchmarking their selection against a number of candidates who have not been selected and those chosen by other departments. We also look at the synergies between the potential Fellows as a whole, given that this is a multidisciplinary programme. Together we agree on a short list and a reserve list from among this pool, occasionally adding one or two other names that the Director may propose as having profiles that complement those in other departments. These lists are then discussed by the steering committee as a whole, taking into account the various data we have regarding the origins and gender of applicants to seek to guard against national and gender biases.

We can usually select around 4% of those who apply in any given year (for the 2017-18 call for applications it was 3.6% of the total number of applicants for a place: 49 out of 1356, as 11 continued for a second year). We choose on average an equal number for the reserve list, so that means 8% make the final list of potential candidates. Inevitably that means that many of those who are not on either the short list or the reserve list are as good as those who are. However, they will tend to be less of a fit either with our capacity to mentor Fellows in a given year, or with the opportunities the programme offers – perhaps because they are too experienced, or work in areas that have no overlap with other Fellows.

N.B. As academic staff at the EUI change very regularly, given that none has a permanent position, over time a wide range of mentors with different specialities and preferences become available for candidates to work with. So a candidate who fails to make the short list in one year may well do so in the following year.

Application date
18 Oct 2018
Date of residence
1 Sep 2019
Duration
12, 24 or 36 months
Country
Europe Italy
Discipline
Humanities History Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Demography Economics International Relations Law Political science Social Anthropology Sociology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years
Grants available
50-55
Award granted
€ 2.000/month
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