The Romanian Young Academy (RYA) pursues interdisciplinary independent research and joint civic action and is hosted by the University of Bucharest. It is addressed to early career researchers within 7 years from the bestowal of their PhD. They can come from all disciplines and can apply on the basis of their personal research projects. Interdisciplinary projects and projects that can also lead to new policy proposals through a transfer of knowledge from academia to society are preferred. RYA attempts to ensure excellence in research and civic action, interdisciplinarity, fair competition, academic and civic integrity, broad-minded and inclusive views, and regional and international collaboration. After being selected and becoming RYA members, the early career researchers are financially and logistically supported to also develop collaborative projects with a marked civic component. For its first three years (2020-2022), the RYA is funded by Stiftung Mercator. The first RYA call for applications was announced on this website on the 15th of April 2020 and the closing date for the acceptance of applications was the 31st of May 2020. The selection process was ready at the end of June 2020 and notifications on the results of the applications were sent on the 6th of July 2020, two months ahead of the initially planned September schedule. The first RYA members' meeting will also take place in July 2020, depending on the COVID-19 contingency and the related measures.
Besides the funding offered by Stiftung Mercator, the RYA establishment has also been supported – both financially and logistically – by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Thus, the RYA launch event will be a Humboldt Kolleg, an international interdisciplinary conference on the general theme of ‘Global Challenges of the 21st Century’ with three subsumed themes: 1) Technological development and human health/ quality of life; 2) Climate change and environmental sustainability; 3) Democracy and social cohesion. These will also be the RYA themes of research and civic action for the first three years – 2020-2022. The Humboldt Kolleg was planned for 18-22 March 2020, but it had to be postponed to 18-22 November 2020 due to the COVID-19 contingency. More information on the RYA launch event can be found here: https://humboldt-kolleg.rya.org.ro. The first RYA members, selected between April and July 2020, will be able to participate in this Humboldt Kolleg re-scheduled in November. On this occasion, they will meet the international advisory board, the steering committee, and the board of reviewers and they will also participate in a round table together with researchers from the Romanian Academy.
Moreover, Dr Stanciu, the RYA initiator, fundraiser and director, received the Humboldt Alumni Award 2020 for innovative networking initiatives on the 3rd of April 2020. More details on this award can be found here: http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/alumni-award.html. This award will last for three years and will support the activity of the RYA Executive Board, of the RYA International Advisory Board, and of the RYA Steering Committee during the period 2020-2022 and, generally, all RYA networking activities. Owing to this sponsorship coming from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and within the context of the COVID-19 contingency, which lead the Romanian authorities and other authorities elsewhere in the world to declare a state of emergency, Dr Stanciu has already commenced the first RYA networking and civic engagement initiative, which is related to this emergency situation. More details on this initiative will be offered on the RYA website soon.