Institute for Basic Science (IBS)

2020 Call for Applications for IBS Research Center Directors and Chief Investigators

Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Korea, South

DAEJEON, Korea, South

2020 Call for Applications for IBS Research Center Directors and Chief Investigators

The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) is a Korean government-funded research institute founded in November 2011 with the purpose of driving forward the development of basic science in Korea through large-scale, long-term, group research. IBS has so far established 30 Research Centers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, life sciences, Earth science, and interdisciplinary sciences. The selection and establishment of new Centers (Center category I) for 2020 will be limited to a maximum of two that are only HQ-based. In addition, the selection of Chief Investigators, who will operate a research group within existing Pioneer Research Centers (Center category II), will be limited to a maximum of two. We look forward to receiving many applications from excellent scientists.

January 3, 2020

IBS President Noh Do Young


I. Center Category I

1. Selection Type

○ A scientist who is capable of conducting large-scale, long-term, group research will be selected as a new director and will organize a new HQ Center.

○ A selected applicant may organize his/her Center with various structures (e.g., having co-director(s) and/or associate director(s)).

※ In principle, the scientist selected as a new director is required to commence his/her research by December 2020. (The commencement date may be adjusted under special circumstances)

※ The 2020 selection of co-director(s) will not take place.

2. Research Areas

○ All areas of basic science and interdisciplinary sciences

  • Applications from those in IBS Designated Research Areas will be given priority in review.

※ Please refer to www.ibs.re.kr/eng/sub04_02_02.do for details of the Designated Research Areas.

3. Requirements and Selection Criteria for Director Position

○ Requirements


  • A researcher who is capable of conducting large-scale, long-term, group research in basic science.

  • A researcher whose capability is equivalent to that of a chair professor at a globally recognized university or a director of a Max Planck Institute in a relevant area. Or a researcher who has potential to reach the aforementioned level in the near future.

  • A researcher who can devote himself/herself to research and Center operation for a long period of time (10 years or more).

○ Selection criteria


  • Select candidates after comprehensively examining applicants’ scientific excellence and adequacy of submitted research plans based on qualitative evaluation by domestic and overseas scholars.

  • Scientific excellence: Supremacy of research outcomes, research capabilities and potential, etc.

  • Adequacy of research plan: Adequacy and feasibility of Center organization and operation plan, research budget and its allocation, plan to foster young scientists, and mid- to long-term development plan and visions.

4. Selection Procedure

○ Candidate search by February 2020: Two means – open recruitment and recruitment by Search Committee (SC)* – will be utilized.

* Committee composed of domestic and overseas scholars will be formed by area to search for excellent candidates.

○ Selection of in-depth evaluation candidates by April 2020

○ In-depth evaluation by August 2020

○ Comprehensive evaluation and consultation by Scientific Advisory Board by October 2020

○ Negotiation and appointment by November 2020

5. Center Budget

○ The proposed budget on the application form will be carefully reviewed during the selection and evaluation procedure for directors. Once the selection is completed, the proposed budget will be adjusted and approved by the IBS Research Review Committee.

○ The research plan, which is required to be included in the application form, must have details (e.g., research period, list of necessary facilities and equipment, required budget, annual plan) of start-up expenses for large-scale facilities and equipment that should be constructed at an early stage of Center establishment.

  • Start-up expenses will be provided separately after deliberation. The expenses should be separately stated in the application.

※ Whether or not to provide the expenses or the provided amount may change according to the circumstances of IBS.

○ If a director applicant has plans to recruit co-director(s) or associate director(s) within the proposed research period, relevant plans and required budgets must be specified in the application.

6. Details of Director Position

○ Directors are required to work full time in principle. Their labor costs will be negotiated with the IBS President and will become effective upon signing of the contract.

○ Directors will be given autonomy in organizing their Center, including personnel, research plan, and budget allocation.

○ Directors are not allowed to apply for other Korean government-funded research projects in principle.

※ Those who are participating in Basic Science Research Programs of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) may commence their research as IBS directors after the completion of the (phased) programs.

○ Center review will take place every three years, except for the first review, which takes place in the fifth years after the Center’s research commencement. Review results will determine whether to provide continued support. If it is decided to close a Center/research group, a one-year grace period will be given.

7. Application Submission

○ Fill in the application form in English, save it as a combined PDF file (file name: applicant name_Director_submission date), and send it to apply@ibs.re.kr.

Submission deadline: Saturday, February 29, 2020 (KST)

○ Those who qualify for the in-depth evaluation will be notified in May 2020.



IICenter Category II

1. Selection Type

○ Pioneer Research Center (PRC): A PRC is a HQ Center to explore new territories of basic science and will be organized by gradually selecting and appointing Chief Investigators (CIs).

  • A PRC will consist of up to five CIs and each CI will be given KRW 1 to 1.5 billion annual operation budget, including labor costs and other expenses.

※ A separate consultation will take place for expensive research equipment and facilities that are difficult to construct by individual groups.

○ Applications may be submitted only for the existing PRCs* or for the PRC planned to launch**.

(Mathematics) PRC for Mathematical and Computational Sciences, (Interdisciplinary) PRC for Biomolecular and Cellular Structure

* (Physics) PRC for Quantum Information Science (Tentatively named, to be launched in July 2020)

※Those selected as new CIs are required to commence his/her research by December 2020. (The commencement date may be adjusted under special circumstances)

※The 2020 selection of CI for creating a new PRC will not take place.

2. Research Areas

○ Mathematics, computational sciences, quantum information science, and interdisciplinary areas that can have collaboration with the research groups in the abovementioned PRCs.

3. Requirements and Selection Criteria for CIs

○ Requirements


  • An emerging researcher who is capable of organizing his/her own research group and carrying out challenging, creative, and independent research in basic science.

  • A researcher whose capability is equivalent to that of a PI at a globally renowned research institute or who has great potential to reach the aforementioned level in the near future.

○ Selection criteria


  • Select candidates after comprehensively examining applicants’ scientific excellence and adequacy of submitted research plans based on qualitative evaluation by domestic and overseas scholars.

  • Scientific excellence: Supremacy of research outcomes, research capabilities and potential, etc.

  • Adequacy of research plan: Adequacy and feasibility of his/her group organization and operation plan, research budget and its allocation, and mid- to long-term development plan and visions.

4. Selection Procedure

○ Candidate search by February 2020

○ Selection of in-depth evaluation candidates by April 2020

○ In-depth evaluation by August 2020

○ Comprehensive evaluation and consultation by Scientific Advisory Board by October 2020

○ Negotiation and appointment by November 2020

5. Center Budget

○ The proposed budget on the application form will be carefully reviewed during the selection and evaluation procedure for CIs. Once the selection is completed, the proposed budget will be adjusted and approved by the IBS Research Review Committee.

○ The research plan, which is required to be included in the application form, must have details (e.g., research period, list of necessary facilities and equipment, required budget, annual plan) of plans to collaborate with the existing research groups, plans to utilize the existing facilities, and start-up expenses for large-scale facilities and equipment that should be constructed at an early stage of CI research group organization.

  • Start-up expenses will be provided separately after deliberation. The expenses should be separately stated in the application.

※ Whether or not to provide the expenses or the provided amount may change according to the circumstances of IBS.

6. Details of CI Position

○ CIs are required to work full time in principle. Their labor costs will be negotiated with the IBS President and will become effective upon signing of the contract.

○ CIs will be given autonomy in organizing their research group, including personnel, research plan, and budget allocation.

○ CIs are not allowed to apply for other Korean government-funded research projects in principle.

※ Those who are participating in Basic Science Research Programs of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) may commence their research as IBS CIs after the completion of the (phased) programs.

○ Review on each CI group will take place every three years except for the first Review, which takes place in the fifth year after the research commencement. Review results will determine whether to provide continued support. If it is decided to close a research group, maximum of a one-year grace period will be given.

7. Application Submission

○ Fill in the application form in English, save it as a combined PDF file (file name: applicant name_CI_submission date), and send it to apply@ibs.re.kr.

○ Submission deadline: Saturday, February 29, 2020 (KST)

○ Those who qualify for the in-depth evaluation will be notified in May 2020.

8. Contact for Inquiries

○ Application, selection, and evaluation procedure for directors/CIs

- Jung YuJin, head of Research Evaluation Team (042-878-8226, jinny619@ibs.re.kr)

○ Organization and operation of Centers (directors)/PRC research groups (CIs)

- Kang Dong-woo, head of Research Policy & Support Team (042-878-8191, dwkang@ibs.re.kr)

※ For more information including an application form, please visit our website, https://www.ibs.re.kr/eng/sub04_02_04.do

Please apply via recruiter’s website.