Application procedure

The application procedure requests the applicant’s registration to access the SMASH application platform and to complete online application forms and upload obligatory documents. The templates of the obligatory documents are available below and are accessible on the SMASH application platform.

The SMASH selection process will be based purely on merit-based rankings by a pool of international expert reviewers and experts proposed by the applicants themselves.

The applicants are requested to carefully read the guide for applicants before they start with the application to the call.

Provisional Call timeline

Call open
Opening of the call
Call closed
Call deadline
Submission of reference letters
Call deadline + 7 days
Eligibility check
Call deadline + 14 days
Assessment of proposals
Call deadline + 2 months
During the third month after the call deadline
Final rankings
Call deadline + 3 months
Call 2 details
Open from July 17 to October 27 2023

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the evaluation process, the candidates must meet the following criteria on the date of the call deadline:

  1. Candidates must be holders of a Ph.D. degree, of any nationality. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered postdoctoral researchers and will be considered eligible to apply.
  2. Candidates must comply with the Mobility Rule, i.e., they must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Slovenia for more than 12 months in the 3 years before the call deadline. Compulsory national service, short stays (e.g. holidays), and time spent applying for refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not considered;
  3. Applicants must propose a postdoctoral research project that aligns with one or more of the program’s key research areas and host groups. To ensure that, the applicant must reach out to the desired supervisor(s) who will assist them in preparing the proposal and later provide a letter of support.

Application Overview

The applications must be written in English and submitted through the dedicated online application platform before the deadline of the call.

The platform requires each candidate to register, complete online forms, and upload obligatory documents as required in each section:

  1. Administrative data
  2. Eligibility criteria compliance
  3. Academic and professional experience
  4. Research proposal

Note that to assure unbiased evaluation, a two-stage anonymized peer-review procedure will be used. That means that all documents that describe the research proposal will be anonymized and evaluated first. The part of the application that describes the applicant will be evaluated separately and will not be anonymous.

During the application, candidates are asked to suggest 3 evaluators to review their proposal. Proposing the evaluators the applicants have to follow the SMASH conflict of interest policy.

Application Documents

Applicants will be required to upload the following documents using the SMASH templates provided.

Required documents

  1. Ph.D. certificate in English or non-certified English translation OR an official statement from the applicant's academic institution, proving that applicant successfully defended the doctoral thesis but has not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree until the deadline of the call
  2. CV (max. 4 pages) with standard academic and research record, including a list of publications – CV TEMPLATE
  3. Research proposal description (max. 10 pages), addressing all the aspects related to excellence, impact and dissemination, feasibility, and implementation. The proposal description must be structured by work packages, including a Gantt chart, a financial plan for research and travel costs including secondments – RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEMPLATE , RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEMPLATE PDF
  4. Ethics statement required only in case the applicant identifies ethical matters related to the research project – ETHICS STATEMENT TEMPLATE
  5. Motivation statement (max. 2 pages) explaining the applicant's interest in the SMASH programme and the reasons for the application – MOTIVATION STATEMENT TEMPLATE, MOTIVATION STATEMENT TEMPLATE PDF
  6. Letter of support of the selected host organization signed by the head of the department/resarch group and uploaded to the application platform by the supervisor before the call deadline – LETTER OF SUPPORT TEMPLATE

Optional documents

  1. Two reference letters provided and uploaded to the application platform by referees, not later than 1 week after the call deadline, assessing the applicant’s previous research activities, research capacity, and work experience – REFERENCE LETTER TEMPLATE
  2. A document explaining any career breaks, if applicable (no template);

Selection criteria

Evaluation criteria applied to the applicant and the research proposal


Excellence (25%)

  • State of the art description
  • Clarity of research objectives and research methodology
  • Originality and pertinence of the proposed research
  • Relevance for the Key Research Areas

Implementation and Feasibility (15%)

  • Quality and effectiveness of the work plan
  • Feasibility within given time-frame and available budget
  • Appropriateness of the researcher’s professional experience competences and skills to carry out the research project;
  • Match between the project and the selected SMASH host research group(s)

Dissemination and Impact (10%)

  • Dissemination and exploitation plan (range/diversity of dissemination activities including conference attendance, conference organisation, seminars, outreach activities, etc.);
  • Expected impact on the research field;
  • Expected Impact on the strengthening the SMASH network


Track record (20%)

  • Research experience and past achievements;
  • Professional Recognitions and Services;

Leadership qualities and Motivation of the Applicant (15%)

  • Clarity and quality of research and career goals
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and ability to go beyond disciplinary specialisms

Career development (15%)

  • Relevance of the project for the applicant’s career development;
  • Expected new partnerships and relevance of potential cross-sectoral collaboration
Evaluation criteria applied to the applicant in the interview stage


Presentation (25%)

  • Quality and clarity of the presentation, research objectives and methodology
  • Extent to which the project goes beyond the state of the art

Discussion (25%)

  • Knowledge of the proposal research field and how it fits in the broader scientific context
  • Coherence and effectiveness of the workplan
  • Awareness of risks and appropriateness of mitigation plans


Expected career impact (25%)

  • Motivation
  • Career path plans

Potential of the applicant (25%)

  • Potential for leadership
  • Communication skills
  • Independent thinking, ability to propose excellent research
  • Creativity, originality of ideas

Redress procedure

Any applicant not selected during the evaluation procedure has the right to appeal to the Executive Board (EB) via email in the template provided bellow. All redress procedures must be initiated within 7 days of informing the applicant that the application was rejected. This allows to resolve redress issues before the selection procedure is finalized. Appeals will be restricted to procedural errors. Claims against the verdicts of the expert reviewers will not be upheld. In case that procedures were not followed correctly the Executive Board will reconsider the application. After that, the EB’s decision will be binding.- REDRESS PROCEDURE TEMPLATE