Call for Proposals: FAPESP Young Investigator Grant on Quantum Technologies

Call announcement: April 8, 2024
Deadline for submission of pre-proposal: June 3, 2024
Selection result of pre-proposal announcement: June 28, 2024
Deadline for submission of full proposals: July 29, 2024
Final results announcement: September 30, 2024
Project Start Date: November 1, 2024
FAPESP Support Opportunity: Young Investigator Grant (QuTIa Program)
Maximum duration of the projects: 60 months
FAPESP Contact: Fernanda Biondi - qutia@fapesp.br


The FAPESP Program in Quantum Technologies QuTIa (Quantum Technologies Initiative) aims to promote the development of an ecosystem of quantum technologies essential to boost the scientific and technological leadership of São Paulo and Brazil in multiple areas of knowledge. The potential impacts are vast, ranging from sensors for healthcare, biology, and agriculture, to cybersecurity in communications, as well as potential advantages in solving complex computational problems through quantum computing. This program aims to promote the progress of quantum technologies, including sensors, communications, and quantum computing, and to establish São Paulo as a strong player in this area. Additionally, the program aims to boost the development of startups and attract global investment and talent to the region.

With this Call for Proposals, the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP – wants to bring in up to five researchers who are early in their careers and excel in their specific fields of knowledge. Proposals will be received under FAPESP's Young Investigator Grant category, aimed at establishing new scientific leadership in the state. In this Call, priority will be given to proposals from researchers working abroad who wish to start a research career at a research institution located in the State of São Paulo. It seeks to stimulate the creation of opportunities, under internationally competitive conditions, for young researchers with exceptional research backgrounds. Proponents need to demonstrate achievements after their doctorate research that indicate leadership capacity and great potential for nucleation of new research groups working with modern aspects of quantum technologies. A clear international insertion is important, along with an impact on the ongoing research at São Paulo State. Priority is given to topics not yet covered by researchers in the state or that complement themes already being explored.

It is also expected that the research projects foster the formation of highly qualified human resources, with students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and postdoctoral fellows pursuing high quality and impactful research. Partnerships with companies may also be considered if they are dedicated to the scientific theme of the project.

1. Research themes

Quantum technologies are divided into three main strands: sensing, communication, and computing. Each area presents specific challenges and opportunities and a distinct degree of technological maturity. In this Call for Proposals, we seek to attract researchers working in all aspects of these technologies. Even though priority will be given to proposals directly related to the three axes of quantum technologies, all competitive proposals spanning the whole range of so-called Quantum 1.0 to Quantum 2.0 technologies are eligible. Below is listed a non-exhaustive set of topics that are of interest to this Call. Both theoretical and experimental proposals are eligible, albeit competitive experimentally oriented proposals are strongly desired.

a) Quantum communications, quantum key distribution protocols (QKD), frequency transducers, single-photon detectors, single-photon sources, quantum memories;

b) Quantum sensing exploiting photons, spins, phonons, superconducting qubits, or atoms for applications in metrology, healthcare, agriculture, and other areas. Life-sciences-oriented optical microscopy techniques that explore quantum states of light for enhanced resolution and sensitivity. Quantum-inspired and enabling technologies, such as dual-frequency comb spectroscopy, optically pumped magnetometers, and others are eligible;

c) Quantum processing and simulations based on photonic processors, ion or neutral atom traps, superconducting qubits, and others. Quantum control, quantum algorithms, such as quantum and quantum-inspired machine learning, quantum optimization, and others.

Successful applicants are expected to actively participate in the QuTIa Program networking meetings and workshops aimed at accelerating the development of these technologies within São Paulo and Brazil.

2. Eligibility criteria

A researcher must comply with the eligibility requirements of FAPESP’s Young Investigator Grant, as specified in www.fapesp.br/en/yia, while the following modifications of the guidelines apply to this Call:

a) In this Call for Proposals, applicants with at least 2 years of successful international postdoctoral experience are sought. A non-exhaustive list of success indicators are: publication of articles in journals with high editorial quality, leadership in these publications, invited talks at consolidated conferences and institutions, relative impact in the research field, awards and honors;

b) Be fluent in English.

3. Characteristics of proposals under this Call

a) Candidates must follow the FAPESP’s rules and guidelines for submitting proposals for the Young Investigator Grant (www.fapesp.br/en/yia); exceptions in the eligible budget items are outlined in item 3.2;

b) Although collaborations with established groups at specific topics are allowed and encouraged, a competitive proposal must have a clear and independent line of research;

c) Research project must be written in English.

3.1. Duration of the Grant

a) The duration of the proposed project must be 60 months;

b) During the development of the research project, it is desirable that the Young Investigator apply for open permanent positions at the host or other institutions in the State of São Paulo (tenure track option);

c) After the conclusion of the project, if the Young Investigator obtained a permanent position in a university or research institution in the State of São Paulo, he/she can continue his/her research activities by applying for funding through FAPESP regular funding options, including the prestigious Young Investigator Grant – Phase 2.

3.2. Support offered by FAPESP:

a) Each application should not exceed five million Reais (5.000.000,00 BRL), including the Young Research fellowship, fellowships (for students and postdocs). Fellowship costs, computers, equipment, and others may be included in the SAGesystem. Successful applicants delivering outstanding results are eligible to request additional funds by the end of the third year;

b) A Young Investigator Fellowship, to be paid up to the total duration of the grant or until the Young Investigator obtains a permanent position at an institution in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The monthly value of the scholarship is announced at www.fapesp.br/3162.

c) Items allowed by FAPESP are described in item 7 of the Young Investigator Grant Guidelines (www.fapesp.br/en/yia);

d) For this Call, a few exceptions to scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships applies relative to the usual guidelines for the Young Investigator Grant (see item 7.1e in www.fapesp.br/en/yia):

i. Up to two Post-Doctoral (PD) fellowships are allowed and may be included in the budget. Outstanding postdoctoral fellows will be selected by the successful grantees, which must satisfy FAPESP's guidelines for the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program, described at www.fapesp.br/en/5427.

ii. In addition to the usual fellowships allowed in the Young Investigator Grant, regular PhD (DR) – for students who already own a master’s degree – will also be allowed. As usual, the usual FAPESP guidelines apply for each fellowship.

iii. To enhance collaboration with local companies based in São Paulo State, eligible candidates will have the opportunity to apply for Technical Training Fellowships (TT) upon finding suitable industry partners. These fellowships aim to facilitate technological research and innovation endeavors in public or private companies, with a particular focus on technology-based startups within the State of São Paulo. Applications can be submitted after the research plan is initiated and may access additional funding opportunities following merit review by FAPESP.

e) Successful applicants living abroad will be granted traveling stipends to cover air tickets to support the applicant and family, following the rules outlined in https://fapesp.br/7771/auxilio-instalacao.

4. Proposal submission and evaluation

The proposal submission will occur exclusively through FAPESP's SAGe system and will be split in three steps:

a) Pre-proposal submission. Selected candidates will be invited to join a virtual Q&A call to prepare for the next submission step;

b) Full proposal submission;

c) Online presentation & Interview. Candidates receiving positive reviews on their proposals will be invited for an online presentation (12 min) followed by an interview with members of the Evaluation Committee.

4.1. Pre-proposal

The pre-proposal must be submitted in English exclusively via the SAGe system. The required documents are:

a) The SAGe menu path for this Call is: Nova Proposta Inicial > + Outras Linhas de Fomento > + Programas Especiais > + QuTIa > + Projeto de Pesquisa – Jovens Pesquisadores > + Chamada de Propostas (2024)

b) Summarized CV in English (up to 5 pages) including the following key information:

i. Researcher identification:

a. Scopus ID

b. Google scholar profile

c. Scopus ResearcherID

ii. Short career summary (<400 words);

iii. A brief summary of outstanding scientific achievements and how they may contribute to the current proposal;.

iv. List of 3 most important publications; Indicate leadership role in the research results obtained and justify why these results are impactful;

v. Top 5 Invited talks;

vi. Degrees and previous appointments.

b) Short Research Project (max 5 pages, single-space, font size 12);

c) A hyperlink to a 12-minutes or less recording (presentation/screencast) on the main goals and challenges of proposed research projects. Longer presentations will not be considered; presentations must be in English. Candidates are encouraged to provide a short overview (~1 slide) of their relevant past activities;

d) Budget items to be included through SAGe system; it is not necessary to include vendor quotations at this stage;

e) It is not mandatory to have selected the host institution at this stage.

f) At least 2 letters of recommendation from senior researchers about the candidate. The candidates will indicate the senior researchers' contact information in the SAGe system. They will be contacted directly by FAPESP requesting the recommendation letter with the subject "Recommendation Letter for (CANDIDATE FULL NAME)". Cndidates will not have access to the content of the submitted recommendation letters.

4.2. Pre-proposal evaluation

An evaluation committee will judge the submitted proposals considering the following criteria:

a) Originality & innovation;

b) Project importance and contribution to scientific knowledge around the themes discussed in section 1;

c) Suitability of investigators’ scientific background to the project, including the eligibility criteria outlined in section 2.

5. Submission of full proposal (for those approved in the pre-proposal phase)

The full proposal must be submitted through FAPESP’s proposal submission platform SAGe. Researchers selected in the pre-proposal evaluation will be requested by email to submit additional documentation in the SAGe system.

a) The applicants must ensure they have company-issued quotations for each capital equipment to be purchased in Brazil or abroad whose value is ten times higher than the minimum wage in Brazil. It is not necessary to submit invoices at this stage.

b) The full proposal must describe which activities will be tackled in each solicited fellowship (PhD, MsC, Scientific Initiation, Postdoc, etc.). A short 1-page summary describing research goals and schedule must be submitted for each requested fellowship.

5.1. Full proposal evaluation

The review process will follow the guidelines:

a) All proposals will be sent to at least two external reviewers and, a FAPESP evaluation committee will weigh their evaluations and rank the proposals;

b) The reviewers will evaluate the proposal’s potential impact on the field; its relation to or differences from existing works; how it may provide new routes for the relevant open research challenges;

During this phase, along with the reviewers proposal evaluation, the committee will consider the following items:

i) Likelihood of having a high impact on the field if the project is successful;

ii) Proposal of alternative and effective experimental/theoretical strategies;

iii) Proponent’s capacity to initiate new strategic cooperation with research institutions at local, regional, and international level while preserving the research independence.

5.2. Final results

a) Upon receiving a final positive recommendation of the proposals, the awarded candidates will be invited to a virtual interview;

b) The nomination of the selected candidate is final and therefore no appeal for reconsideration is possible.

6. Timeline



Call announcement

April 8, 2024

Deadline for submission of pre-proposal

June 3, 2024

Pre-Proposal evaluation result sent to PIs

June 28, 2024

Questions and Answers Meeting

July 2, 2024

Submission of full proposals

July 29, 2024

Evaluation Committee Interview

August 1, 2024

Selection result announcement

September 30, 2024

Start of Project

November 1, 2024*

*Projects should start before December 1, 2024 unless exceptional circumstances apply.

7. FAPESP’s Research Networking Tool

The Virtual Library (www.bv.fapesp.br/en) includes FAPESP’s database of awarded research grants and scholarships. In it, you may search for information on grants and fellowships funded by FAPESP, including abstracts as well as the name of participating researchers and their institutions.

8. Contact information

Questions related to this Call must be directed to:

  1. Email qutia@fapesp.br using the subject: "Young Investigator Grant on Quantum Technologies";

  2. Frequently asked questions will be available at the QuTIa Program website https://fapesp.br/qutia.