The Pilot Directions for MOST Grant for the Columbus Program
Promulagted by the Ministry of Science and Technology per Order
Ke-Bu-Zong-Zi No. 1060073159A on September 20, 2017
These Directions are established by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to encourage young research fellows and scholars to engage, on a long-term basis, in research with potential, important, and innovative ideas; to conduct research and exchange with research institutions overseas; and to establish international collaboration teams, in order to broaden international horizon and establish international influence.
Eligibility of application institutions (execution institutions): Domestic public and private colleges and universities approved by MOST for grants as per the directions for units applying for MOST grants.
The applicant (principal investigator) shall be aged under 35, holding a doctorate, and fulfill one of the following requirements:
(1) Applicants who are working at a domestic public or private college or university at the time of application:
1. Applicants must be a full-time faculty member holding an assistant professor (assistant research fellow) or higher position of a domestic public or private college or university at the time of application.
2. Applicants must be a full-time faculty member or research fellows holding an assistant professor (assistant research fellow) or higher position hired by a public college or university as per the enforcement principles for hiring research fellows and staff hired with the national university endowment fund or by a private college or university as per mutatis mutandis the selection and hiring requirements in the enforcement principles for hiring research fellows and staff hired with the national university endowment fund.
(2) Applicants who are not hired by a domestic public or private college or university (including by an overseas academic/research institution) at the time of application: They shall fulfill the above requirements during project execution.
Principal investigators of research projects granted (funded) by the Einstein Program of MOST fulfilling the qualifications in Article 3, Paragraph 1, Section 1 and have executed an entire granted research project that will expire within one year may apply for grants under the Columbus Program.
Applicants may apply for the following funds as per actual project needs.
(1) General expenses
1. Personnel fee
a. The maximum monthly allowance for a principal investigator shall be NT$50,000.
b. The pay (including the year-end bonus reserve, the employer’s labor insurance and National Health Insurance contributions, and termination pay savings) or part-time hourly pay (not exceeding the original total teaching hours of the principal investigator) for the teaching staff taking up the teaching work of the principal investigator during the project period.
c. Pay for the post-doctoral research fellows for project execution shall be applied for in the project proposal.
d. Pay and temporary wage for the full-time and part-time assistants shall be subject to the notice for hiring contract assistant in MOST-granted research projects.
2. Consumable, articles, books and miscellaneous expense: Other fees directly relating to the research project.
3. Hosting Expenses for Foreign Researchers: The fees for inviting foreign or Chinese scholars to visit Taiwan for project execution.
(2) Equipment: Equipment required for and directly related to project execution with a unit price over NT$10,000 and a lifespan over two years.
(3) Travel Expenses for International Destinations: The expenses for traveling overseas or mainland China for project execution.
1. Overseas visits, exhibitions, or competitions: Team members of project participate in exhibitions or competitions related to project execution.
2. International collaboration and research study abroad: Overseas collaborative research, experiment, fieldwork, sample collection, or use of overseas research facilities by research team members for the project needs.
3. Participation in international conferences: Team members of projects participate in international conferences, including publishing research papers, delivering keynote speeches, or acting as a conference moderator.
(4) Management costs: The fee required by the research execution institution for executing the research project. The administration fee shall be planned and spent by the research execution institution without violating related government requirements. The maximum amount shall not exceed fifteen per cent of the total project fund.
The maximum amount of grants shall be NT$10 million per year. Where large instruments or equipment are required, the amount of grants may be increased after review.
Maximum number of granted projects of Columbus Program:
(1) The maximum number of granted projects of Columbus Program is 30. The project duration shall be three to five years.
(2) A principal investigator shall not execute other MOST funded projects during the execution of Columbus Program.
An applicant or an institution shall file an application by the deadline specified by MOST. Late applications or incomplete or unqualified documents will not be accepted.
(1) Applicants meeting the requirements in Article 3-(1)-1 or in Article 3, Paragraph 2: An application shall fill in the project proposal via MOST’s Academic Research Service Portal before sending the research project to the application institution. After an application institution examines and approves the research project, an applicant shall produce the application list, the declaration of qualifications of the principal investigator, and institution cooperation undertaking before send them to MOST.
(2) Applicants meeting the requirements in Article 3-(1)-2: After producing the following documents, an applicant shall upload the application documents to MOST’s research project online system.
1. Project proposal.
2. Certification of identity (ROC citizens shall submit a photocopy of their citizen ID card, and aliens shall submit a photocopy of their passports).
3. Certificate of doctoral degree. New graduates may submit a project proposal and the following documents to file an application to MOST:
a. Applicants who earn their doctorate overseas must submit the temporary certification of degree: the certification of pass of the oral review issued by the overseas university or institute and their dissertation. All documents shall be provided with a Chinese translation.
b. Applicants who earn their doctorate from a domestic university must submit the temporary certification of degree: the certification of pass issued by the PhD degree review committee affixed with the seal of the issuing department/institute and the oral review record.
The process and main criteria of proposal review:
(1) Experts and scholars of related fields will be selected to be members of the review panel to review the proposals and documents.
(2) Foci of review
1. The research aim involves science or social topics awaiting a solution and with a theoretical background.
2. Applicants must demonstrate their ambition, macroscopic view, and past research performance.
3. International collaboration experiences and future plan about playing an important role in international academic societies or professional associations.
4. Planning for establishing and cultivating a research team.
Applicants of rejected applications may not file an appeal.
The contract execution and grant disbursement of a funded project shall be implemented in accordance with the MOST letter of approval.
After an application filed as per Article 3-(2) is approved, an applicant shall be official hired by the application institution meeting the requirements in Article 2 within eight months after receiving the MOST notice. Failure to be officially hired by the application institution shall be considered as a waiver.
Within one month after the date of employment, the application institution shall send the following documents to apply for project approval to MOST: the certificate of appointment, the certificate of doctorate (for new graduates), the institution cooperation undertaking, the documents related to research ethics review, and the photocopy of the MOST notice. The said MOST notice will become invalid where the application institution fails to submit the above documents by the deadline.
Where the approval of Institutional Review Board (IRB) are required in the said research ethics review, an application institution may extend the deadline of submission of related documents for approval to three months from the date of employment.
MOST will send a letter of approval to an application institution after the application is approved. The project period and the contract execution and disbursement of project grants shall be subject to the letter of approval.
Matters relating to project change:
(1) When there are unexpected challenges on the research topics or research process during project execution, an institution may flexibly adjust the direction and expense of research through its internal procedures.
(2) No change of the principal investigator shall be allowed under this Program.
(3) After the transfer of a granted project to another execution institution, this new execution institution shall submit the institution cooperation undertaking as prescribed in Article 2. The application for an institution transfer shall be subject to the procedures prescribed in the MOST Directions for Research Project Grant.
(4) The cancellation, interruption, suspension, or extension of a granted research project; and the utilization change, transfer or supplementation of project funds shall be subject to the MOST Directions for Research Project Grant and the MOST Principles for Handling Research Project Grant.
When executing a granted research project, the project principal investigator shall utilize the grant as per the purpose(s) of granting. The project principal investigator shall assume full responsibility for the authenticity of the expense vouchers as per the nature of expense. The project principal investigator shall also assume full liability for providing false vouchers.
Reporting and balance return of grants:
(1) An execution institution shall complete grant reporting within three months after the project duration expires.
(2) An execution institution shall audit de facto the expenses of the research project grant. An execution institution shall not approve any expenses not used as per the grant purposes by the principal investigator and shall request the principle investigator to make improvements. When detecting a principal investigator reports false accounts or inflates the amount of an account, if any, an execution institution shall take appropriate actions and report to MOST the results of such actions.
(3) The balance, if any, of a research project grant shall be returned to MOST.
(1) An execution institution shall request a principal investigator to submit a research-in-progress report two months prior to the end of each year.
(2) An execution institution shall request a principal investigator to submit a mid-term report as per the deadline specified by MOST. After the outcome assessment, an execution institution may re-evaluate the expense limit and project duration.
(3) An execution institution shall request a principal investigator to submit a closure report within three months after the project period ends as per Article 19 of the MOST Directors for Research Project Grant.
(4) Where applicable, MOST may request a principal investigator and an execution institution to submit data relating to project execution and project outcomes.
Cooperation of and penalties for execution institutions:
(1) An execution institution shall arrange supports for the space, manpower, equipment, administration, and general affairs (including accounting and personnel) required by the grated research project. An execution institution shall also reduce the workload unrelated to the granted research project of a principal investigator, such teaching or administration work. In addition, an execution institution shall flexibly support the following activities of a principal investigator: visits on overseas research institutions for international collaboration and assuming an important position in international academic societies or professional organizations, in order for the principal investigator to focus on research.
(2) Where an execution institution fails to cooperate with such, MOST may request it to return the project administration fee by a deadline, deduct or discretionarily reduce the proportion of the project administration fee in the next term.
Other related regulations:
(1) To demonstrate the benefits of cultivating domestic sci-tech research fellows, applicants fulfilling the qualification requirements specified in Article 3-(1)-1 or in Article 3, Paragraph 2 shall not apply for a grant as per Article 3-(1)-2. MOST will cancel the research project grant and request applicants to return the full amount of a grant by a deadline for applicants who violate this requirement.
(2) Applicants shall not repeatedly apply for granting of same research project to MOST. MOST will take actions against applicants who violate this requirement as per the MOST Directions for Handling and Reviewing Research Ethics Cases.
(3) If an application for research project grants made by applicants as per Article 3-(1)-1 or in Article 3, Paragraph 2 are rejected, and such applicants have not applied for or executed a MOST research project in that year, they may apply for research project grants as per Article 10 of the MOST Directions for Research Project Grant to apply for grants for the research project of that year by means of onsite review irrespective to the restriction on projects that have never been applied for MOST grants as specified in Section 1 of that Article.
(4) The maximum period of overseas sojourn of a principal investigator for project execution shall be half of the total project period.
(5) The ownership, management, and utilization of the research outcomes and income earned by a principal investigator from project execution shall be subject to the Fundamental Science and Technology Act, Government Scientific and Technological Research and Development Results Ownership and Utilization Regulations, MOST Scientific and Technological Research and Development Results Ownership and Utilization Regulations, and related laws and regulations.
(6) The MOST Directions for Research Project Grant, the MOST Principles for MOST Principles for Handling Research Project Grant, the research project grant agreement, the research project execution agreement, and other related regulations shall apply mutatis mutandis to matters not provided for in these Directions.