1.   About the AXA Research Fund

Who are we?

The AXA Research Fund is the scientific philanthropy initiative of AXA, the leading insurer, dedicated to supporting research around key societal issues and risks. Our work is based on values of transparency, excellence, relevance, diversity, and the support of a community of researchers that is committed to building solutions towards the best possible future.

Why does AXA support science?

Academic research provides us with the capacity for anticipation, adaptation, innovation, and solution building. To navigate increasingly complex and inter-twined environments and novel risks requires the development and support of the best scientific knowledge and its dissemination towards informing decision-making and the public debate.

What are the different types of grants?

The AXA Research Fund offers two different types of grants.

1. The AXA Chair is the premium funding scheme of the AXA Research Fund for up to €1 M and is awarded for a period of 5 years. The applicant is expected to be at least PhD + 10 years minimum, to be of the highest caliber and should have demonstrated outstanding research achievements.

An AXA Chair aims at:

  • Creating a dedicated full-time senior academic position in an institution
  • Supporting a significant acceleration in the development of a research field
  • Fostering a step-change in the career of the appointed AXA Professor

2. The AXA Fellowship can go up to €140 000 and is awarded for a period of 2 years. It relies on calls for proposals around specific themes and aims at supporting researchers that are PhD+5 years maximum with proven scientific excellence and a high potential for innovation, transformation and dissemination. Candidates must have defended their Ph.D. before applying for an AXA Fellowship.

2. About the applications  

Who is eligible to apply for an AXA grant?

AXA grants are only open to researchers and academic institutions worldwide. The following organizations are NOT eligible for AXA funding: associations, hospitals, foundations, NGOs, governmental bodies, independent research centers, cultural institutions, museums...

The AXA Research Fund solely supports academic research projects lying within the scope of eligible areas (more details available for AXA Chair and AXA Fellowship). The following types of projects are NOT eligible for AXA funding: research and development, company’s creation, educational programs…

Academic institutions can apply for an AXA Chair each time a new campaign is launched. However, the institution cannot re-apply with the same candidate as their last application for a period of 3 years.

What documents will applicants need to complete?

Step 1: Expression of Interest

The expression of interest provides initial information on the candidate and on the program submitted in the aim of accessing rights to the full application process.

Academic institutions should appoint a single point of contact “Operational Contact” (holding an administrative position within the institution) who will register the AXA Research Fund’s online platform to submit the expression of interest. Candidates cannot submit their expression of interest independently of the host institution.

Step 2: Full Application

Only candidates selected during the expression of interest phase can submit a full application which consists of a robust application providing in-depth information on the candidate’s research background and research proposal.

How to write my application?

Tips for writing your application

How is my application assessed?

Expressions of interest are reviewed by the AXA Research Fund Team based on the relevance of the research topics and the candidates’ scientific CVs.

Full applications are assessed by a panel of independent experts in a standard peer-review process according to our criteria and the expert’s knowledge.

The final decision in granting funding is made by the AXA Research Fund’s Scientific Board composed of top-tier scientists from a variety of research fields and following a rigorous process of academic pre-screening and peer review. The selection of the research projects is an independent process in which neither the AXA Research Fund nor AXA, interfere.

Will I receive feedback on my project if it is not selected?

Whether or not your project has been successful, you will be informed about this decision by email. However, we are not able to provide any feedback on our selection process or decisions.

3. About the grant agreement terms and conditions

How is the grant decision announced?

An official letter mentioning that you have been selected for an AXA grant will be sent by email to the dean of your institution. You will be on copy of this email.

How much time do I have to accept the grant?

For AXA Fellowships: The grant offer is valid for a period of 2 weeks following the announcement of the results.

For AXA Chairs: The grant offer is valid for a period of 4 weeks following the announcement of the results.

When do I need to start the research project?

Projects are expected to start no later than 6 months after the announcement of the results.

How is the agreement process initiated?

Once the Institution officially accepts the grant and the conditions, the AXA Research Fund and the Institution enter in the process of setting-up the agreement. The AXA grant is officially announced only when the agreement is signed. The agreement covers the entire duration of the research grant.

What does the grant cover?

The AXA Research Fund does not cover expenses that are not directly connected to the Research Program. Therefore, the AXA Research grant cannot be used for administrative and infrastructural expenses.

Eligible costs are:

  • AXA Grantee expenses (incl. annual gross salary, travel & accommodation costs…)
  • Post-Doc/PhD expenses (incl. selection process costs, Junior Research Fellow Grants…)
  • Purchase of scientific equipment and resources (databases, survey costs, consumables…)
  • Academic and public engagement activities organization costs (organization of conferences, seminars, dissemination activities towards expert and non-expert public…)

How is the payment made?

For AXA Chair:

The grant is paid in yearly installments, following the Institution’s submission of calls for funds. The funds are processed in accordance with a payment schedule stipulated in the agreement.

The first transfer of funds is triggered by the signature of the agreement, the Chairholder’s official acceptance of the AXA Chair, and the receipt of an official project start letter (to be sent via email) confirming that the research program has begun. The Institution will need to send the first call for funds to axarf.agreement@axa.com to start the payment process.

In case of early termination, on behalf of the researcher, the Institution shall provide AXA with a statement of expenses. The remaining funds will be retained by the AXA Research Fund.

For AXA Fellowship:

Payment of the grant is contingent on the launch of the research project.

The grant is paid in 4 installments, on the Institution’s submission of the relevant call for funds. Calls for funds should be ideally sent 1 month before the schedule corresponding due date to axarf.agreement@axa.com to start the payment process:

  1. On date T + 1 month, payment of ¼ of total budget
  2. On date T + 12 months, payment of ¼ of total budget
  3. On date T + 18 months, payment of ¼ of total budget
  4. At the end of the project, payment of ¼ of total budget, subject to the receipt of the final report defined in the contract

T corresponds to the date on which the project starts.

How is the grant monitored?

Grantees and their host institutions are expected to update the AXA Research Fund on a regular basis and must submit their activity and financial reports yearly and in due course.

  • Activity Report:

This activity report will provide the highlights of the Research Program, progress, achievements, and outputs versus objectives, impacts of the AXA Grant, and research related activities. It is to be submitted on the AXA Research Fund’s grantee portal. The grantee will receive dedicated and secure access credentials upon signature of the agreement.

  • Financial Report:

This financial report must include the annual expenditure explaining how the grant has been allocated. This report is to be submitted on the AXA Research Fund’s institution portal by the operational contact.

What is expected from grantees?

Grantees are expected to fully commit to their research program (at least 80% of working time spent on selected project) for its whole duration and to demonstrate high level of rigor, seriousness, and professionalism. Grantees are required to be proactive in engaging science with society when supported by the AXA Research Fund and use an open-data framework when applicable. AXA Research Fund grantees commit to sharing their project and communicating their research to a broad audience, supported by the AXA Research Fund.

4.   About the open access policy

The AXA Research Fund believes that providing free and unrestricted access to the scientific outputs of the research projects it supports to be a fundamental part of its mission. Since July 1st, 2016, an Open Access policy is effective for all new agreements and granted funding. To build on best existing practices in this area, this policy closely follows the guidelines instituted and recently updated by the European Research Council.

Considering the fast evolution of current debates and the diversity of approaches between disciplines, no binding commitment to this policy will be requested from the Chairholder.

To comply with the open access policy, the AXA Research Fund:

  • Requests that an electronic copy of any research article, monograph or other research publication that is supported by the AXA Research Fund be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication. Open access should be provided as soon as possible and, in any case, no later than six months after the official publication date. For publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities domain a delay of up to twelve months is acceptable.
  • Strongly encourages funded researchers to use publishing venues and discipline relevant repositories for their publications that ensure that the publications are publicly discoverable and accessible as soon as possible, and in places that enable long term preservation. If there is no appropriate repository, researchers should make their publications available in institutional repositories or in centralized ones.
  • Reminds researchers supported by the AXA Research Fund that open access fees are eligible costs that can be charged against AXA Research Fund grants, provided they are incurred during the duration of the project.
  • Asks host institutions to cover open access fees of any research publications supported by the AXA Research Fund arising after the end of the project

The AXA Research Fund furthermore strongly encourages its researchers to:

  • Retain files of all the research data they have produced and used during their work, and that they be prepared to share these data with other researchers whenever they are not bound by copyright restrictions, confidentiality requirements, or contractual clauses.
  • Use discipline-specific repositories for their research data. If there is no appropriate discipline specific repository, researchers should make their research data available in institutional repositories or in centralized ones.
  • Establish good research data management in accordance with the current best practices in their respective fields and to share their data with other researchers in a responsible way.

5.   About our ethics policy

Research projects supported by the AXA Research Fund must conform to the AXA Group Compliance and Ethics Guide which excludes (but is not limited to):

  • Research violating national regulations
  • Research with potentially dangerous environmental impacts
  • Research relying on the artificial production of highly infectious pathogens with potential for large scale harmful/lethal effects for humans and research involving gain of function
  • Biomedical research conducted without the fully informed consent of the participant
  • Research on embryonic stem cells (incl. animal, with inferred subsequent human application)
  • Research processing private personal data without the informed consent of the concerned parties (incl. genetic information)
  • Research activities aiming at human cloning

Cases of scientific misconduct such as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or misrepresentation of data will be considered as breaches of fundamental ethical principles and proposals concerned will be excluded.