Frequently Asked Questions

about the FRONTIERS Program

Who can apply to a FRONTIERS residence?

When calls for applications are open, Science Journalists who have identified a host institution may apply using the available application form.

The application is submitted by the science journalist but, at the application stage, both the applicant journalist and the Host Institution must commit to the FRONTIERS residency program terms, by signing a commitment letter. Please refer to the Program Guide for more information.

Applicant journalists may submit a single application per call. Should more than one application exist, only the last one to be submitted will be considered. Applicants who have not been selected in one call may apply again in a subsequent call.

Who counts as a Science Journalist in the context of FRONTIERS?

Science journalists resident in Europe and associated countries are the main beneficiaries of the initiative, but applications from science journalists living elsewhere will also be considered. The residency entails moving to the host institution’s country.

Applicant journalists must document their experience as science journalists by submitting examples of their work within their application to a FRONTIERS call.

FRONTIERS grants differentiate among three levels of career, based on professional seniority:

  • early-career: up to 5 years of professional experience;
  • mid-career: 6-9 years of experience;
  • established: ten or more years of experience.

Who is the recipient of the FRONTIERS Grant?

FRONTIERS grants are assigned directly to the selected journalists. Host Institutions are not funded through this initiative nor may they be intermediaries in the journalist’s funding.

When applying to a FRONTIERS Fellowship, should journalists choose a host institution/project within the Hosts Database?

Not necessarily. The Hosts Database contains expressions of interest received by the FRONTIERS Team and these are an excellent starting point. However, an institution does not have to be in the database to be eligible as host institution. Journalists are encouraged to do their own investigation and contact the research institutions that best fit their project.

Where may FRONTIERS residencies take place?

Residencies take place at an institution involved in frontier research, in any field of science, that commits in writing to the terms of the FRONTIERS Residency Program. Host Institutions must be in the European Union or an associated country with the EU’s Horizon Europe programme by the call deadline.

Institutions willing to host science journalists for a residency may express their interest through the appropriate form. The list of institutions and scientific projects will be made available at the FRONTIERS website.

Journalists looking for institutions or projects should regularly visit the Hosts database page.

When do the residencies take place?

The exact starting date for each residency should be coordinated between the science journalist and the host institution.

For the 2nd call, residencies are expected to start no later than the end of March 2025. Extensions may be granted by the CSO upon request, in exceptional circumstances.

What is frontier research in the context of FRONTIERS?

The FRONTIERS initiative has a unique commitment to support science journalism projects whose main subject / topic of interest is considered ‘Frontier Research’.

To some extent, the definition of ‘Frontier Research’ might be considered elusive. Still, FRONTIERS grants will only be awarded to projects that put ‘Frontier Research’ at their core.

When trying to identify a suitable ‘Frontier Research’ project, please consider this list of indicators or attributes that are typically associated with ‘Frontier research’, and can serve as first screening step in the process:

  • Basic research (unlike applicative research)
  • Tapping into uncharted water
  • Pushing the boundaries of knowledge
  • Aspiration for excellence leading to foundation of new discoveries
  • Founded on new principles and / or new conceptions
  • Involving high conceptual scientific risk(s)
  • First / best in class
  • Addressing complex global challenges

Note that in many cases these above-listed indicators / attributes may be too general or too inclusive, for assessing if a scientific topic is ‘Frontier Research’. Therefore, we have prepared a short recorded course (30 minutes) that includes an additional set of tools and indicators that will assist you in the process of self-assessing ‘Frontier research’.

What is the role of individual researchers in the context of FRONTIERS?

Researchers working on frontier science projects are welcome to work alongside FRONTIER fellows during their residency, helping them navigate the day-to-day at a research institution and supporting the journalist journey within a new science field.

Individual researchers willing to share their research project with potential applicant journalists may submit an expression of interest using the appropriate form. Remember that for application, the applicant journalist will need an institutional letter of support. The list of institutions and scientific projects will be made available at the FRONTIERS website.

Journalists looking for institutions or projects should regularly visit the Hosts database page.

Are FRONTIERS Fellows expected to work for the institutional communication department?

No. The FRONTIERS Fellow will not be involved in institutional communication. Their residency is an opportunity to explore a specific field of frontier science with total independence and the outputs of the residency are a decision from the journalist alone. 

As those with probably more awareness about journalists’ work, communication departments are invited to collaborate as much as possible in helping the FRONTIERS fellow feel welcome and, together, create mutual learning opportunities with researchers within the institution.

What type of commitment is expected from the host institution?

Potential Host Institutions are expected to commit to ensuring a fruitful and enriching experience for the journalists in carrying out their project in total independence and in a welcoming and safe working environment. Basic requirements include:

  • Badge or other forms of credentials granting access to the relevant premises;
  • Access to the cafeteria/canteen and other shared areas under the same condition as research staff;
  • A working space with access to wi-fi;
  • Access to the institution’s library and electronic resources (such as books, scientific journals and databases);
  • Access to all events and activities organized for the institution’s staff.

During the residency, host institutions should invite FRONTIERS fellows to participate in activities that encourage debate on science and the media within the institution, such as asking them to deliver a seminar on a topic of their choice.

Host institutions will also be invited to collaborate with the FRONTIERS Team in documenting the FRONTIERS Residency for others to learn from their experience. This includes answering surveys and interviews, providing information for the FRONTIERS website and social media, and collecting footage (guidelines will be provided once the residency starts).

What type of commitment is expected from a FRONTIERS Fellow?

During the residency, FRONTIERS Fellows are expected to focus fully on their project, and to refrain from outside professional work.

In this period, journalists are expected to interact frequently with researchers and other professionals working in the host institution and to  take part in social and cultural events being carried out there. Namely, journalists should collaborate with the host institutions on activities that encourage debate on science and the media. 

FRONTIERS fellows are expected to actively participate in training and networking activities organized within the FRONTIERS project framework. Fellows will be asked to share their experience and collaborate with the FRONTIERS team in communicating and disseminating the residencies program, namely by doing a takeover of one of FRONTIERS’ social media accounts for a short period of time. 

FRONTIERS fellows are also expected to provide feedback on the residency as requested by the FRONTIERS team, during and after the residency.

What is included in a FRONTIERS Fellowship?

FRONTIERS Fellows will be entitled to receive a monthly payment covering travel, accommodation and eligible daily expenses up to 4,000 euros (early-career), 5,000 euros (mid-career), or 6,000 euros (established), based on EU rules.

By becoming a FRONTIER Fellow journalist will integrate a community of science journalists, benefiting from valuable training and networking opportunities. 

All FRONTIER Fellows will be invited to participate in the final conference.

What if something does not go as planned during the FRONTIERS residency?

FRONTIERS has a Coordination and Support Office to support both science journalists and host institutions both in the application phase and in managing possible controversies during and after the residencies.

To contact the FRONTIERS Coordination and Support Office, use the email cso@frontiersmedia.eu