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IST-BRIDGE: International Postdoctoral Program

Are you eager to perform cutting edge basic research in an international environment? Do you want to push the frontiers of science and work with supervisors and colleagues that are among the best in the world?

IST BRIDGE Postdoc IST Austria

The IST-BRIDGE program at Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) offers fully funded (two-year) postdoctoral fellowships for highly qualified candidates who have completed or will soon complete their PhD or equivalent in the natural or computer sciences, mathematics or any related discipline.

IST-BRIDGE postdocs’ careers will be enhanced by a flexible ‘career-tracks’ training program and optional non-academic secondments, placements in ISTA research support units, and academic secondments to outstanding international BRIDGE Network partners.

Benefits of an IST-BRIDGE fellowship

  • International, Interdisciplinary, and Intersectoral fellowship program
  • 2-year, fully funded postdoctoral position (optional extensions for placements/secondments)
  • Profiled competency training: 4 flexible ‘career-tracks’
  • Optional BRIDGE placements and secondments
  • ‘Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow’ title – internationally recognized mark of research excellence


  • All research fields supported at ISTA will be eligible (see
  • At the date of the deadline, applicants must hold a PhD (or equivalent) or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience and anticipate the completion of their PhD degree before the start of their fellowship (which should not be later than ~7 months post-deadline – see guide for applicants). A fellowship contract will not be issued until a copy of the diploma/proof of successful defense is provided.
  • Applicants cannot have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Austria for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the original call deadline (i.e. 05/11/23).
  • Researchers already employed at ISTA at the call deadline (i.e. 05/11/23) are not eligible to apply.

Calls for proposals: IST-BRIDGE will recruit 60 fellows over 5 globally-advertised calls (approximately 12 per call).

Call deadlines: 05/11/21 – 05/05/22 – 11/12/22 – 05/05/23 – 05/11/23

See ‘How to apply’ section below for the Guide for Applicants and application links. Should you have questions on the IST-BRIDGE fellow application process, please see the FAQ section below or contact:

IST-BRIDGE program

The IST-BRIDGE program has two primary goals: Excellent basic research and tailored postdoctoral researcher career development. Research projects covering all fields at ISTA are welcome: the research areas and potential host supervisors can be found here. In the case of interdisciplinary research projects, a secondary host may also be nominated.

BRIDGE Network: BRIDGE fellows have the opportunity to receive additional world-class academic research training at a BRIDGE Network partner institute: Francis Crick Institute (UK), Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (JP), Rockefeller University (US), Weizmann Institute (IL). These institutes not only offer researchers the freedom and resources to focus on curiosity driven research, but are committed to supporting postdoctoral researchers and developing early-stage PIs. Fellows may propose a 3 month Academic Secondment hosted by a BRIDGE partner Research Group, providing access to exceptional training and networking opportunities.

Logos IST BRIDGE Postdoc program

Working conditions

Funding: BRIDGE fellows receive 2-year, full time employment contracts with an internationally competitive salary (min. 61,000 EUR gross) and full social security coverage. In addition to this salary, every BRIDGE fellow will receive at the beginning of their fellowship a single paid relocation allowance amounting to EUR 2.000. Furthermore, a single additional allowance of EUR 1.000 is paid to researchers with families.

Research Environment: The IST-BRIDGE program offers a stimulating and interdisciplinary environment. Research group leaders are at the forefront of their respective fields: two thirds of faculty have received an ERC grant. Labs are equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation and central Scientific Service Units offer facilities and know-how on an international level.

Family Services: ISTA has an onsite daycare. Reserving a spot in the daycare is subject to availability.

Housing: Depending upon availability, a room in the on-campus guesthouse or apartments can be rented, giving incoming postdocs time to find more permanent accommodation.

Language: The official language of the institute is English. In order to help fellows integrate in the host country, ISTA offers German-language courses on campus.

BRIDGE ‘Career-Tracks’

The flexible BRIDGE Career-Tracks structure provides support and training towards achieving the fellows’ desired career, but also ensures the fellows receive the necessary guidance, information, tools and opportunities to identify alternative career paths in academia, industry and beyond. Fellows will be enrolled in a Career Development Program, which is structured in four profiled tracks, a combination of desired career goals and concrete professional options.

IST BRIDGE Postdoc program Courses

Fellows will be required to state their top two choices in the online application form. Your choices will not influence the evaluation process (although should be justified in the motivation statement) and you may switch/mix the training offerings across ‘tracks’ after award and during the fellowship.

BRIDGE secondments and placements

The BRIDGE Secondment Schemes are designed to consolidate training through Career-Tracks program, and close the experience gap both inside and outside academia. The BRIDGE Academic Secondments provide fellows an opportunity to expand their networks and gain access to specific expertise and equipment/methods at global institutes (BRIDGE Network) of proven excellence in basic research. The BRIDGE Intersectoral Secondments and BRIDGE Intrasectoral Placements aim to provide fellows with authentic experiences outside of academia to help them make an informed decision on their career post-fellowship.

BRIDGE Academic Secondments may be up to 3 months and are included in the 2 year fellowship. During the secondment, BRIDGE fellows will be provided with the necessary work space and have equal access to scientific facilities as enjoyed by partner researchers. All seconded BRIDGE fellows will remain employees of ISTA for the duration of their secondment, guaranteed working conditions at least equal to that enjoyed by the fellow at ISTA (and fully compliant with the Charter and Code).

BRIDGE Intersectoral (non-academic) Secondments may span 2-6 months to allow for sufficient integration into the non-academic environment. The objective of the secondment can be training/activities related to their project goals or career goals. Fellows’ contracts are extended by the length of the secondment, both to encourage intersectoral exposure and to ensure their scientific project is not impacted.

In addition to the internal support services (i.e. Grant Office, Tech Transfer Office, HR), IST CUBE will provide expert consultation, support and advice to both ISTA administration and BRIDGE fellow in identifying and contacting relevant intersectoral partners (and potentially supporting commercialization of their project post-fellowship). IST PARK will highlight the fellows’ scientific and transferrable skills to tech park companies (and other regional partners), while also facilitating (and advising on) fellow communications with potential hosts.

BRIDGE Intrasectoral Placements within ISTA research service units (e.g. Grant Office, Communications, etc.) may be for up to 3 months (part-time possible), and again fellows’ contracts are extended by the length of the secondment. Secondment/placement plans do not need to be included in the research proposal and can be developed at any time during the fellowship, with the start dates and activities for the secondments/placements determined according to the needs of the fellow and secondments/placement supervisors. All secondments and placements are subject to the agreement of all parties (fellow, supervisors, program management).

How to apply (incl. downloads)

Application Process: Overview

  1. Download and carefully review the Guide for Applicants (below)
  2. Create an account at
  3. Verify your account by following the instructions contained within the email sent to you.
  4. Complete the application by entering all required information and uploading all required documents (see Guide for Applicants).
  5. Submit your application.

Following application, top-ranked applicants will be invited for a remote interview (4-7 weeks post-deadline) with international Selection Committee members. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications no later than 3 months after the application deadline (including reserve list status where relevant).

The application portal will close on 05/11/2023 (14:00 CET). All applications documents, including referees letters, should be uploaded/submitted by this date/time. (see ‘guide for applicants’ for more details’)



What is the supervision/hosting arrangement of BRIDGE fellows?
All BRIDGE fellows will have a primary supervisor. The primary supervisor must be an ISTA faculty member. Applicants may propose an optional secondary supervisor, which may be a second ISTA faculty member or external academic (i.e. a faculty member at another institution) should the specific interdisciplinary expertise required for the proposed research not be available at ISTA.

Can I apply prior to completing my PhD?
Yes, provided that you will complete your PhD prior to beginning employment (i.e. max. seven months post-call deadline).

How many positions are available?
ISTA will award approximately 12 fellowships per call.

What is the timeline for the selection process?
All candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application (including reserve list status if relevant) within three months of the application deadline. Top ranked candidates will receive an invitation for interview 4-7 weeks post-application deadline. Candidates who receive an offer must take up employment within seven months of the application deadline.

Can I apply in any of the research fields listed in – and only in these?
Not necessarily. The list of current research groups may include also groups who are in the process of leaving the institute – and will not be able to host new researchers in years following the current Call closure – while at any point of time new groups may be in the process of joining the institute and might not have an official page in the institute website yet (but be fully eligible as potential hosts). For each call, the online application forms provide a list of all the groups eligible to host BRIDGE fellows. Applicants must check that their proposed research matches the research interests of their proposed host(s).

Are candidates already working at ISTA eligible?
No. Candidates who are already employed by ISTA are not eligible and their applications will not be considered by the selection committee.

Can reference letters be requested prior to fully submitting an application?
Yes. After starting an application, you have the option to “save” the application without submitting so that you can return and complete it later. Once you have entered your referees’ information and saved the application, a “contact referees” button will appear at the bottom of the page. Clicking this button will notify your referees that you have requested a letter of reference and they will receive an email from our application system informing them how to upload their reference letter.

By what date must my referees provide their reference letters?
All application documents, including reference letters, must be submitted no later than 14:00 (CET) on the application deadline (see Guide for Applicants). All applications which are incomplete at the application deadline will be considered ineligible and no exceptions will be made for providing reference letters or other application materials after the deadline.

I have already submitted my application but would like the change something or upload an updated version of one of my documents. What do I do?
Contact We will update your application accordingly provided your request is received prior to the application deadline.

Can I collect reference letters from my referees and send them myself?
No. All referees will receive a link with which they can upload their reference letter directly to our application tool. If for some reason they are unable to do this, they can contact us at and we can upload the letters for them. The reference letters should not be sent via candidates.

How do I know if my referees have sent their letters of recommendation?
After your application has been fully submitted you can check the status of your reference letters by logging in and viewing your submitted application. The application system also enables you to send reminders via the application tool to referees who have not yet submitted their letters.

Who should I contact with questions about the application and selection process?
Please send all queries about the IST-BRIDGE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program to

Can I include letters of support from my nominated hosts at ISTA?
No. Application materials should not include any letters of support from your nominated hosts at ISTA. Additionally, neither of your nominated hosts may be listed as a referee on your application.

May I include a letter of support from a nominated external secondary supervisor?
No. Application materials should not include a letter of support from your nominated external secondary supervisor. Additionally, any nominated external secondary supervisor may not be listed as one of the referees on your application.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101034413.

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