CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Standard Drugs and Drug Standards


Standard Drugs and Drug Standards: A comparative historical study of pharmaceuticals in the 20th century (DRUGS)

DRUGS is a European Science Foundation (ESF) Research Networking Program (

Call for Applications for Exchange Grants for visits of 4 to 24 weeks to Network member institutions
Open to:

  • postgraduate students
  • post-doctoral researchers
  • early career researchers
  • established researchers

DEADLINE: 1 May 2010


Using the theme of standardization, applied both to objects and practices, the Network is exploring the development of twentieth-century medicine by looking at the production, distribution, prescription and consumption of major classes of therapeutic agents, such as sulfa-drugs, hormones, and psycho-active drugs. The aim is to evaluate the contribution of industrial, administrative and clinical standardization to the ‘therapeutic revolution’ (1920-1990) in which a series of ‘miracle’ drugs changed the face of Western medicine.

The Network aims to examine the evolution of industrial standards and drug trials, along with prescription and clinical practices, from a comparative perspective. For example, by looking at the role played by accidents or proposed, but rejected, alternatives to standard modern practice, we aim to reveal the multiple forces that have shaped our modern medical world. This approach takes us beyond the usual protagonists in this history — research scientists and their clinical partners — allowing the important groundwork to be done on the contextualization of this field, with respect to the intervention of the state, industry, and other actors. A richer view of the context for the scientific innovation that lies behind the modern pharmaceutical industry, promises to open up new perspectives in the analysis of today’s health systems.

To develop the program further, we are pleased to announce the third round of training and research exchange opportunities.  These are core elements of the Program and one of its most innovative elements. The Exchange Program enables postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers, early career researchers, and established researchers to spend a period of between 4 and 24 weeks at groups within the Network to work on specific topics. The exchange can be split into a number of visits of shorter duration, for example, a 6-week visit may be taken in periods of 2 and 4 weeks.  In addition, an applicant may apply to divide their exchange between more than one host.  Please note, the minimum period for any single visit at a host institution is two weeks.

Our Exchange Program has three aims. First, visitors and hosts will learn about the approaches, methodologies and research cultures of different European research groups. Second, this circulation will deepen our collective understanding of the local specificities of research organization, local production and state surveillance, in particular the important national differences regarding the conservation of archives, the institutional arrangement of research facilities, the administration of medicine and health care. Third, the number and variety of exchanges should promote comparative research, for which the understanding of national styles is indispensable for any serious transnational analysis.

The applications will be evaluated with respect to:

  1. the scientific quality of the research project;
  2. career development aims appropriate to the level of the applicant;
  3. the overall objectives the DRUGS Research Network Program; and
  4. the expected benefit to the host member(s) of Network (see details of groups at )


The Exchange Program is an element of the ESF RNP DRUGS. The exchanges are aimed to generate improved collaboration between the European working groups in the field. Applicants must be affiliated to an academic institution in ESF member organizations. Exchange visit grants provide a living allowance of EUR 400 per week or EUR 57 per day, plus actual travel expenses up to a maximum of EUR 500. The exchange visit(s) should take place between the 12 July 2010 and 1 April 2011.  Applications are made first to the Network, and successful applicants then join the ESF grant management system.  This provides the facility for advance payment towards living costs, normally 80 percent of the total for items other than travel.  The remaining 20 percent, along with travel expenses, will be paid upon receipt of the scientific report for the Exchange.  This report has to include a signed statement by the host on the exchange and all original travel tickets. In the case of cancellation or unreasonable delay (six months or more), all advances have to be returned to the ESF. If the length of the stay is shorter than the foreseen period, the grantee should reimburse the ESF the appropriate amount of unspent funds.

Extending the term of each exchange may be possible, but will only be allowed after the submission of a mid-term report.
The Evaluation Committee may suggest to the applicants some modifications of the working plan regarding appropriate hosting institutions, duration of time spent with groups, times and the phasing of visits.  The terms of the second round of exchanges has been modified to allow participants more flexibility over the length and timing of exchange periods. It will be possible, following the evaluation of reports from this round, for the same applicant to submit another exchange proposal in the fourth round in 2011.


Deadline for applications: 1 May 2010
Meeting of Evaluation Committee: 16-18 June 2010
Notification of result: End of June 2010

The application is a two-step procedure. First, the applicants should send their application to the Exchange Program Evaluation Committee, see details below. The Committee will rank the applications and may propose modifications to the working plans. Following the evaluation stage, which is intended to be supportive and improve applications, selected applicants must complete the web-based procedure to join the ESF grant system at Please do not worry about the detail of this second stage, applicants that go through to that stage will be given advice.
For the initial stage, the following are required from each applicant:

  • A short description of the proposed research project (maximum of 1000 words)
  • The aims and rationale for each visit to a hosting institution(s).
  • Curriculum vitae of two A4 pages.
  • List of five most recent publications.
  • A letter of recommendation from someone familiar with the applicant’s work.
  • A letter of acceptance from the host(s) at the receiving institution(s).
  • Full address details of the prospective host(s).
  • Proposed starting date.
  • Number of weeks to be spent on each visit at the host institution(s).
  • Estimated travel costs.

Applicants should submit all of the documents detailed above in one PDF file.*
Applications must be submitted to:

Prof. Volker Hess, Chair of the RNP DRUGS
Institut für Geschichte der Medizin
Charite – Universitaetsmedizin Berlin
Ziegelstr. 5-9
10117 Berlin