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PhD studentship grant | Biological Sciences or Archaeology

Job description:
PhD studentship

Reference: EBM_2022_01

The Mértola Biological Station Association (EBM) is opening a Call for 1 (one) PhD studentship grant in Biological Sciences or Archaeology, complying with the provisions of the FCT Regulation for Studentships and Fellowships (RBI) and the Research Fellowship Holder Statute (EBI). The scholarship will be funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. (FCT) under the Financing Collaboration Protocol of the Multiannual Plan for Research Scholarships for PhD Students, signed between FCT and the R&D Unit, Mértola Biological Station Ass, N.º 14442.

The Call is open from November 8th, 2022 to March 30, 2023.
Applications, and all the supporting documents described in this Notice, must be submitted online using the application form available at
Each applicant can only submit one application; submission of more than one application will result in the rejection of all applications.
False declarations or acts of plagiarism by applicants will lead to the exclusion of the application without prejudice of other corrective and punitive disciplinary measures.

Aiming to support advanced training, PhD studentships will be granted to applicants fulfilling all the requirements necessary to integrate a study cycle that allows to obtain a PhD degree in Portugal, and that wish to develop research work that allows obtaining that degree.
The research activities will be developed in Mértola Biological Station Ass, which will be the host institutions of the grantee, without prejudice to the work that may be carried out in collaboration with other institutions.
The research activities leading to obtaining the doctoral academic degree will be conducted within the scope of the Doctoral Programme in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto.
The work plan will be partially developed in a Portuguese national institution (mixed grant). Being a mixed grant, the period of time spent in the foreign institution cannot exceed 24 months.
As a rule, the duration of PhD studentships is annual, renewable up to 48 months.

PhD studentships are aimed at applicants enrolled or that comply with the requirements to enrol at the Doctoral Programme in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto or Lisbon and who wish to carry out research at Associação Estação Biológica de Mértola or others associated institutions.

4.1 Applicants’ admissibility requirements
The following citizens may apply to this call:
• National citizens or citizens from other member-states of the European Union;
• Third-party states citizens;
• Stateless individuals;
• Citizens holding a political refugee status.
To apply for the PhD studentship it is necessary:
• To hold a Bachelor or Master degree in Biological Sciences, Archaeology or related areas;
• To be resident in Portugal at the start of the work plan, if the proposed work plan for the scholarship includes a period in foreign institutions (mixed grant), which is mandatory for Portuguese national citizens and for foreign citizens.
• Not to have benefited from a PhD or a PhD in industry studentship directly funded by FCT, regardless of its duration.
• Not to hold a PhD degree.

4.2 Application’s admissibility requirements
It is mandatory, under penalty of non-admissibility, to include the following in the application:
1. Information about ID card/ passport;
2. Curriculum Vitae (CV);
3. Academic degree certificates, indicating the final grade and, if possible, the final classification of the disciplines completed or, alternatively, a declaration of honor from the candidate stating that concludes the degree of bachelor or master by the end of the application deadline;
4. For foreign academic degrees it is mandatory to submit the recognition of such degrees and the conversion of the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale, or, alternatively, a declaration of honor from the candidate stating that concludes the degree recognition by the end of the application deadline;
5. Recommendation letters (two)
6. Motivation letter;
7. To present/prepare and submit the application and all related documents, including the recommendation letters and the most representative document of the applicant’s scientific/professional path, in Portuguese or in English.

Regarding the admissibility criteria described above, note that:
- In the case of academic degrees awarded by foreign higher education institutions, and in order to guarantee the application of the principle of equal treatment to applicants holding foreign and national academic degrees, it is mandatory to recognize those degrees and to convert the respective final classification into the Portuguese classification scale.
The recognition of foreign degrees and diplomas as well as the conversion of the final classification into the Portuguese classification scale may be requested at any public higher education institution, or at the Direção Geral do Ensino superior (DGES, only in the case of automatic recognition). Regarding this matter, we suggest that you consult the DGES portal at the following address:
- Only candidates who have completed the cycle of studies leading to a Bachelor or Master degree by the application deadline will be admitted. In case candidates do not yet have the certificate of degree completion, a declaration of honor from the candidates that they have completed the necessary qualifications for the competition by the application deadline will be accepted. The awarding of the scholarship is subject to the presentation, at the contracting stage, of the proof of academic qualifications.

The student will carry out a doctoral research in order to characterize the landscape and understand management practices of wood resources during the Medieval period in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, seeking to integrate them into the environmental, social and political dynamics of the period and region in question. She/he will do so by applying archaeobotanical methods and integrating other palaeoenvironmental, archaeological and historical data.
Among other tasks, during her/his research, the student will:
a) participate in fieldwork in different archaeological interventions in the study area, collecting and processing sediment samples through bucket or machine flotation;
b) carry out laboratory analysis of the samples, namely the identification of archaeological wood, predominantly carbonized, and their dendrological characterization, aiming to obtain taphonomic, palaeoethnobotanical and palaeoenvironmental information;
c) give the due archaeobotanical and archaeological support to the acquisition of isotopic data and participate in the interpretation of the results to be obtained;
d) interpret the archaeobotanical data to be obtained within the scope of this project, in articulation with other palaeoenvironmental, historical and archaeological information;
e) prepare scientific publications and presentations at international and national scientific events.
The work plan will be scientifically guided by Professora Doutora Susana Gomez Martinez from Universidade de Évora and Doutor João Tereso, Researcher at Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto (CIBIO-InBIO).

The work plan is schedule to start during 2023.

The evaluation takes into account the merit of the candidate and his/her scientific background.
Applications considered admissible will be scored on a scale from 0 to 100 in each of the following evaluation criteria:
• Criterion A - Professional background (which reflects the scientific background, research activities, publications, and relevant experience in activities covered by the specific areas of the work plan), with a weight of 60%.
- Sub-criterion A1 – academic path, with a weight of 40%
- Sub-criterion A2 – publications, diversity and quality of scientific indicators in the specific areas of the call, with a weight of 40%
- Sub-criterion A3 - participation in research projects, with a weight of 20%
• Criterion B - Letters of motivation and recommendation, with a weight of 20%.
• Criterion C – Interview with the first 5 selected candidates based on criteria A and B, with a weight of 20%.
For the purposes of deciding on conceding the scholarship, candidates will be ranked according to the weighted average of the classification obtained in each of the three criteria, translated by the following formula:
Final Classification = (0.6 x A) + (0.2 x B) + (0.2 x C)

For the purposes of breaking the tie, candidates will be ranked based on the classifications given to each of the evaluation criteria in the following order of precedence: criterion A, criterion C and criterion B.
Important warning for candidates with degrees issued by foreign higher education institutions:
• Candidates with diplomas issued by foreign higher education institutions may apply and will be evaluated using the same criteria as candidates with diplomas issued by Portuguese institutions, provided that they present, in their application, proof of recognition of academic degrees and conversion of final classification for the Portuguese classification scale under the terms of the applicable legislation.
• Candidates with recognized foreign diplomas who do not present proof of conversion from the final classification to the Portuguese classification scale will be evaluated with the minimum classification (50 out of 100 points) in criterion (A1).
• In any case, scholarship agreements with candidates with diplomas issued by foreign institutions will only be concluded upon presentation of proof of recognition of academic degrees and conversion of the final classification, as indicated above.

Composition of the Evaluation Panel:
- Coordinator: Paulo Célio Alves, Professor Associado c/Agregação da Universidade do Porto e Presidente da Associação Biológica de Mértola;
- 1st Member: Susana Gomez Martinez, Professora Auxiliar da Universidade de Évora, Direção do Campo Arqueológico de Mértola;
- 2nd Member: João Tereso, Investigador do Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto (CIBIO-InBIO) da Associação BIOPOLIS;
- 1st Substitute Member: Francisco Moreira, Investigador Coordenador do Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto (CIBIO-InBIO) da Associação BIOPOLIS e Membro da Associação da Estação Biológica de Mértola;
- 2nd Substitute Member David Afonso da Rocha Gonçalves, Professor Auxiliar Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto,
The evaluation panel will analyse applications considering the evaluation criteria disclosed in the Notice of the Call, considering all the appreciation elements.
All panel members, including the coordinator, make a commitment to respect a set of responsibilities essential to the evaluation process, such as the duties of impartiality, declaration of any potential conflict of interest, and confidentiality.
During all moments of the evaluation process, confidentiality is fully protected and ensured in order to guarantee the independence of all statements.
Panel members, including the coordinator, cannot be supervisor or co-supervisors of candidates with applications submitted to the call.
For each application, a final evaluation form will be produced by the panel, in which the arguments that led to the ratings attributed to each of the evaluation criteria will be present in a clear, coherent and consistent manner.

The minutes of the meeting are the responsibility of the of all evaluation panel and must include the following information:
• Name and affiliation of all members of the evaluation panel;
• Identification of all excluded applications and respective grounds, if applicable;
• Methodology adopted by the panel for each particular cases, if applicable;
• Final Evaluation Sheets for each candidate;
• Provisional list of classification and ranking of candidates, in descending order of the final classification, of all applications evaluated by the panel;
• Conflict of interest statements by all panel members
• Possible delegations of votes and powers due to justified absence, if applicable.

The results of the evaluation are communicated via e-mail to the e-mail address indicated in the application form.

Once the provisional ranked list of the evaluation results has been communicated, applicants who have an unfavorable provisional decision may use their rights to dispute it during the preliminary hearing phase, which takes place within 10 working days, according to Articles no. 121 and following of the Administrative Procedure Code (CPA). The final decision will be disclosed after the analysis of applicants’ arguments presented in the preliminary hearing. Final decision can be claimed within 15 working days or, alternatively, appealed within 30 working days, after the communication of the final results, respectively.

Research grant contracts are made directly with FCT.
The following documents are of mandatory submission, upon conditional granting of the studentship for purposes of contracting thereof:
a) Copy of the documents of personal identification, tax number and, if applicable, social security ;
b) Copy of the academic degree certificates;
c) In case of foreign academic degree it is mandatory to submit the recognition of master degree and the conversion of the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale;
d) Work plan;
e) Document proving the acceptance and registration in the PhD programme in Biodiversity, Genetics
f) Supervisor(s) statement declaring willing to coordinate the work plan, as established in Article no. 5-A of the Statute for Research Fellowships (template will be made available by FCT);
g) Institutional document supporting the applicant, issued by the institution(s) where the work plan will be carried out, guaranteeing the necessary conditions to its successful development, as well as the fulfilment of the duties established in Article no. 13 of the Research Fellowship Holder Statute (template will be made available by FCT);
h) Updated document proving compliance with the regime of exclusive dedication (draft of declaration to be made available by FCT

The studentship granting is still dependent on:
- The fulfilment of all the requirements listed in this Notice of the Call;
- The results of scientific evaluation;
- The absence of unjustified non-compliance of the fellowship holder during previous directly or indirectly FCT funded fellowships;
- FCT available budget.
The lack of any of the necessary documents to complete the contracting procedure implies the expiration of the studentship granting and conclusion of the process; applicants have up to 6 months after the disclosure of the provisional granting to present all of the listed documents.

Studentships payment will start after returning the signed contract to FCT, which should happen within the 15 working days after its delivery. The studentships granted in this call will be financed by FCT using the State Budget fund and, whenever eligible, using the European Social Fund (ESF), under the PORTUGAL2020 programme, in particular, under Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (NORTE 2020), Programa Operacional Regional do Centro (Centro 2020) and Programa Operacional Regional do Alentejo (Alentejo 2020), or any other funding schemes that might be approved, according to the respective requirements.

A monthly maintenance allowance is granted, in accordance with the table in Annex I of the RBI (
The studentship may also include additional allowances, according to RBI’s Article no. 18 and the values indicated in its Annex II.
All the studentship holders have a personal accident insurance related to the research activities, which FCT will support.
All studentship holders who are not beneficiaries of any social protection regime can use the right to social security through the voluntary social insurance regime, under the terms of the Contributory Scheme of the Social Security System. FCT will ensure the charges resulting from contributions under the terms and with the limits provided in Article no. 10 of the EBI.

Payments due to the studentship holder are made by bank transfer to the respective indicated account. The monthly maintenance allowance is paid on the first working day of each month. Registration, enrolment or tuition fees components are pay by FCT directly to the institution.

The renewal of the studentship always depends on applicant’s submission, within 60 working days prior to the renewal start date, of the following documents:
a) Declaration issued by the supervisor(s) and by the host institution(s) attesting the work plan development and the evaluation of the respective activities;
b) Document proving compliance with the exclusive dedication regime;
c) Declaration demonstrating the enrolment renewal in the study cycle leading to the doctoral degree.

All the R&D activities carried out by the grantee, directly or indirectly financed by the studentship, namely communications, publications and scientific creations, as well as thesis, must include the reference to FCT and European Social Fund (ESF) financing. In particular, these references should mention the following operational programmes: Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (NORTE 2020), Programa Operacional Regional do Centro (Centro 2020), and Programa Operacional Regional do Alentejo (Alentejo 2020), or additional funding schemes that might be approved. Insignia of FCT, MCTES, ESF and EU must therefore be included in the documents referring to these actions, according to the graphic rules of each operational programme. The disclosure of research results funded according to the RBI provisions must comply with the open access guidelines, publications and other research results in accordance with FCT rules. For all the studentships, in particular in case of European funded actions, namely the ESF, may be performed monitoring and controlling actions by national or European entities according to the applicable legislation. Grantees must therefore collaborate and provide all the required information, including answering to surveys and evaluation studies in this area, even though the studentship might has already ceased.

FCT promotes a policy of non-discrimination and equal access, thus no applicant may be privileged, benefited, damaged, or deprived of any right or exempted from any duty. This includes ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family situation, economic situation, education, origin or social condition, genetic heritage, reduced work capacity, disability, chronic disease, nationality, ethnicity or race, land of origin, language, religion, political or ideological beliefs or trade union affiliation.

The present call is governed by this Notice of the Call, the FCT Regulation of Research Fellowships, approved by the Regulation no. 950/2019, published in the Series II of the DR, of 16th December, by the Research Fellowship Holder Statute, approved by the Law no. 40/2004, of 18th of August, in its current version, and by other applicable national and European legislation.
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