Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 2 - EIPOD2 (EMBL Interdisciplinary Postdocs 2)


1. Summary description

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) has a strong tradition in promoting interdisciplinary basic research in molecular biology. With 85 laboratories in eight Research Units at five facilities in four European countries, working on topics ranging from structural to organism biology and from computing and biophysics to chemical biology, the EMBL is one of the top research institutions in the world. The EMBL Interdisciplinary Postdoc (EIPOD) programme makes use of this unique international, multidisciplinary research environment to broaden the interdisciplinary education and expertise of Experience Researchers (ERs). The scheme is based on EMBL inviting young researchers to propose interdisciplinary projects of their choice to EMBL faculty of their preference. Candidates are asked to contact at least two group leaders, preferably from different Research Units, to discuss and shape projects that bring together separate scientific disciplines or transfer techniques to new usage. Alternatively they may choose from a list of project ideas advertised on the EIPOD web pages when a call opens and develop the idea into a project to meet their individual interests and needs. The scientific excellence of the applicants and the interdisciplinarity of the proposed work are evaluated by an independent selection committee composed of EMBL Heads of Units and other external internationally renowned scientists. This entails a two-step procedure, involving an evaluation step followed by an interview meeting. Besides high-level interdisciplinary research training, EIPODs receive additional vocational training, special career development support, ethics training and take part in the EMBL dual mentorship scheme. An active alumni network facilitates reintegration into national research environments. EIPOD positions last three years.

2. Summary of work performed since the beginning of the project

Since the beginning of the project three calls for application have been completed. New fellows into the programme have received appropriate guidance and training and progress on their research projects has been monitored on an annual basis.

The programme has also developed a workshop on ethics including a suitable online learning tool to provide EIPOD fellows with appropriate training in this area. All fellows supported by the EIPOD2 grant have taken part in the ethics training. To further enhance the available career development support for EIPODs, the programme has recruited a Career Advisor. The Career Advisor was initially recruited as part of the innovation included in EMBL’s EI3POD Cofund grant under Horizon2020 but the individual will also offer support and guidance to fellows supported by the EIPOD2 grant.

A brochure detailing postdoctoral life at EMBL including the EIPOD programme has been developed and is in use to promote the programme.

A new application and referee database has been developed and tested to improve the front end of the application process for applicants and referees. Furthermore an IT tool to facilitate evaluation of candidate applications has been developed.

3. Summary of the main results achieved since the beginning of the project

Recruitment of fellows and training: Three calls for application have been completed resulting in 67 highly qualified EIPODs joining the programme to benefit from interdisciplinary training. The fellows come from 31 Countries and 60% are female in-line with the programme’s objective of maintaining an international programme with appropriate gender balance. Considerable efforts have been invested to develop an ethics workshop and to identify a suitable online teaching resource covering research ethics made available to EIPODs funded by the project.

Progragramme Development:
The development and testing of a new applicant and referee database to facilitate the application process and the development and release of an IT tool to facilitate the evaluation of candidate applications has been completed. The development of a promotional brochure to advertise the programme has also been achieved.

4. Expected final result

The expected final result for the project is to make use of 97% of the planned for fellowship months as outlined in the grant agreement.

5. EIPOD Website

Information about the EIPOD programme is publically available at This site is kept up-to-date and includes a description of the objectives of the EIPOD fellowship programme, acknowledgement of the Cofunding that the programme receives and examples of previously successful projects. Furthermore, testimonials from previous EIPODs who have completed the programme and the detailed call schedule for the next call are also on the site so that candidates are informed of when interviews will take place. Contact details for the programme administrator are also available here so that applicants can easily get in touch.

6. Summary

At the end of the current reporting period all planned for calls for application under the grant have been carried out, reporting for the grant is up-to-date and the progress of the fellows on their interdisciplinary research projects and training is being monitored.

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