Springboard Award

Under management of the Committee for Scientific Affairs and Awards

+ AIMS (click to open/close)

This new scheme will fund protected research time for clinician-scientists who are progressing towards academic independence and have a high likelihood of obtaining independent fellowships, substantial grants or tenured academic posts within two years of application. This scheme is intended to help to bridge across a critical career stage in which there are often gaps in funding availability. It will support the next generation of clinical academics working in Paediatric Infectious Diseases by providing salary support for the time they need to write competitive applications for substantial grants and fellowships.

+ ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA (click to open/close)

  1. Applicants must be good standing ESPID members at the time of the deadline (click here to download the ESPID "good standing" member criteria) and membership fees must be paid up in full before the application.
  2. Applicants must have an offer of a temporary or fixed position at an institution that will enable and support the research plans of the applicant. Applicants should briefly explain the suitability of the institution in their application.
  3. Applicants must have been awarded a medical degree AND a PhD or research MD or have equivalent research experience by the date of application. Applicants may not apply whilst their research degree thesis is being examined or revised.
  4. Applicants must demonstrate through their application form and Curriculum Vitae that they have potential to lead independent research within two years of the application date.
  5. At the time of application, the candidate must have completed training or be training towards a career in paediatric infectious diseases or the nearest equivalent training pathway that exists in their country.
  6. Applicants must be planning research directly relevant to paediatric infectious diseases (they should clearly outline their research vision in the application).
  7. The applicant must not already hold substantial salary funding for research for the duration of the award.  Their total pre-existing salary funding for research in the period of the award should not exceed the equivalent of 20% of a full-time annual salary (for example <20% of salary if currently funded for one year; <40% of salary if currently funded for 6 months). Within these limits, applicants may hold other research salary funding concurrent with this ESPID award.
  8. The award will provide up to a maximum of €33,000 or 50% full-time equivalent annual salary (whichever is less) for a suggested period of up to 12 months [see SUPPORT below], which must be used for protected research time at an appropriate academic or non-commercial research host institution. Applicants wishing to use this funding for a period of more than 12 months will need to provide a very clear rationale for this in their application. Applicants must have a confirmed source of funding for the remainder of their salary (usually from their clinical work) for the full duration of this period or confirm if they intend to work less than full-time. The other sources of salary funding (clinical, other research funding) must be detailed in the letter of support from the host institution authorities and in the budget table.
  9. Pre-existing funding for the costs of undertaking any relevant research during the period of the award must also be included in the budget table and may be included in the letter from the host institution.
  10. *Applicants must identify a mentor who is a member of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases in “good standing” (click here to download the ESPID "good standing") member criteria) 

Although criterion 1 must always be met, the Committee wish to maximise opportunities for applicants working in diverse circumstances and may use their discretion to allow applications which meet the overall aim of the award but do not meet all the other eligibility criteria. Applicants will need to justify, in their application, why their personal circumstances mean they cannot meet specific criteria. Applicants are welcome to contact before applying if they wish to discuss eligibility.

ESPID will only support one award relating to any one project. If you feel you have a project which more than one award would cover you should select and apply to only one ESPID award. If you have other awards/grants which are pending or have been recently funded, you must indicate this in your application and clearly state what support has been requested/agreed and when a decision is expected.

*If you would like help to find a suitable supervisor, mentor, advisor, or collaborators, or to develop a research idea to support an application for one of the research awards, please consider using the ESPID Research Café 


Applicants will be assessed on their suitability for the award, their plans for achieving transition to becoming an independent research leader, and the strength of support from their host institution.

PhD or Research MD or equivalent


Completed or undertaking clinical training in Paediatric Infectious Disease


Area of research directly relevant to paediatric infectious diseases?


<20% of salary is already funded for research for the duration of the award


Confirmed source of additional salary (eg. clinical salary) during award (if required)




Evidence of readiness for academic independence (demonstrates skills and experience necessary to lead research including evidence of scientific creativity and initiative, successful grant writing, supervisory skills, leadership skills)


Evidence of academic and research excellence (publications, presentations, prizes/awards, etc)


Compelling explanation of how the protected research time will be used to enable transition to academic independence (including detail of the grants / fellowships that will be written, strategies and support to maximise success, justification of how non-salary funding will add value)


Scientific vision (a clear articulation and justification of the research topic the applicant proposes to address and explanation of why they believe this will be competitive)


Commitment from host institution to the career development and academic independence of the applicant (examples of commitment might include continuing salary funding beyond the duration of this award, or support with preparation of a competitive grant application)


In the event of a close score, the perceived likelihood of a candidate finding alternative funding to support their transition to independence will be taken into account in the final decision. If applications of sufficient quality are received, the committee will allocate at least one award to an applicant from an underrepresented, lower-income or conflict-affected country.


The maximum total support offered is €33,000 or 50% of full-time equivalent annual salary, whichever is less. Applications for any sum up to this maximum will be considered. The support is intended to provide personal salary for the awardee. It may not be used to provide resources for a division's research programme or payment for research materials and consumables, other salaries, nor to pay indirect costs to the institution (a signed declaration must be submitted – see below).

We recognise that some applicants may not be able to obtain dual clinical and academic contracts, and so we will consider proposals to use the funding more flexibly. For example, it may be appropriate for some applicants with short term contracts to use this award to fund 100% of their salary for less than one year. However, the amount of funding requested must not exceed 50% of the full-time equivalent annual salary.  

Up to €3000 of the requested funding may be used for non-salary costs to support the preparation of successful applications, such as purchase of essential software, statistical consultancy, travel, or short training courses (but not research consumables). These must be fully justified with explanation of how they increase the chances of success.

First payments will be made up to 6 weeks before the start of the award upon written notification of that date to the Treasurer via the ESPID secretariat.

Payments will only be made to host institutions and not to individuals. ESPID takes no responsibilities for the further administration or use of the funds beyond the point of disbursement but requires final reports to be provided as detailed below.

+ APPLICATION PROCESS (click to open/close)

We recommend you read the guidelines before completing both the application and the cost table. You application and any support documents should be in English.

+ FINAL REPORT (click to open/close)

After completion of the funding period the awardee must provide a written summary of the accomplishments during the tenure of the award, any publications from the period of the award, and the outcome of any fellowship, grant or academic job applications submitted during the period of the award.

The report should be sent by 12 calendar months after the end of the award. Please submit your report using the awards online system. 

+ ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (click to open/close)

Recipients of the award must acknowledge ESPID in any abstracts, posters and publications that result from the research enabled by the award. Acknowledgements should be worded as follows: “<Name> was supported by an ESPID Springboard Award”.

+ INFORMATION TO BE SUBMITTED (click to open/close)

The following information is requested as part of your online application:

1.      Cover Letter

Please indicate answers to the following questions:

i)                    How will time be spent (proportions spent doing research, clinical work/training, teaching or other activities, and how these will be timetabled) and where will you spend time during the award period (with amounts of time planned in each location if more than one)?

ii)                   Has the applicant taken any extended periods of leave from employment (parental, compassionate, sickness or for other reasons (to be specified)) since qualifying in medicine or obtaining their doctorate which they wish to be taken into account in assessment of their application (include dates)? (If the applicant wishes to specify such periods, if possible, a letter or letters confirming the leave and dates should be provided from the relevant employer(s))

2.    Online application form

3    Costs table – needs to clearly identify the applicant’s salary, proportion of salary that will be covered by the award, other sources of salary, and non-salary research funding (if relevant to the application).

4.   A letter of support co-signed by the managerial authority (Head of Department, Head of Faculty or equivalent) AND financial authority (Head of Finance, Finance Manager, or equivalent) at the Institution where the applicant proposes to spend their protected research time. The people writing this letter must have the managerial and financial authority to confirm the following in this letter:

i) employment of the applicant for the period of the award

ii) the use and administration of funds in accordance with the SUPPORT conditions above

iii) Institutional commitment to any additional funding, in-kind support, or academic appointments which may be offered to the applicant concurrent with or following the award

5. A letter of support from the applicant’s mentor


TitleDescriptionDocument / Template
Application Guidelines 2022Please use these guidelines to assist you with your applicationDownload