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Wallonia and Brussels call for international research talent

The EU-funded BEWARE FELLOWSHIPS programme is bringing researchers from across the globe to Wallonia and Brussels to stimulate innovation, encourage technology transfer and boost researchers’ careers.

A total of 50 new researchers from outside of Belgium will be joining Walloon research units over the next few months as part of the BEWARE FELLOWSHIPS programme, an initiative co-funded by the FP7 EU Marie Curie Actions within the MARSHALL FELLOWSHIPS and the TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FELLOWSHIPS projects. Over the next four years, the aim is for the number of participants to grow to almost 100 as the project continues to attract highly qualified researchers to Wallonia and Brussels. Coordinated by the Walloon Public Service (SPW / DGO6) in Belgium, BEWARE FELLOWSHIPS engages researchers in 18 to 36 month contracts in Wallonia or Brussels with the aim of benefiting the individual, the local economy and the research community. The project team also aims for the fellowships to enhance the visibility of Wallonia at the international level and establish a long term international collaboration. So far, the team has launched three calls with three more foreseen in 2015 and two in 2016, depending on the remaining budget. Divided into two categories – industry and academia – the first calls have already been processed and they involve five universities, seven research centres and three SMEs. Eligible researchers so far include 13 women and 37 men with an average age of 33. Participants come from a wide range of countries across the globe – including the US, China, Australia, Germany, France, Algeria, India, Chile and beyond. The aim of the ‘industry’ category (co-funded by MARSHALL FELLOWSHIPS) is for an SME or accredited research centre to benefit from the expertise of highly qualified researchers to encourage the innovation process within the Walloon host. Meanwhile the ‘academia’ category (co-funded by TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FELLOWSHIPS) focuses on technology transfer. According to project coordinator Pierre Demoitié of the SPW / DGO6, the calls are open to all research topics (bottom up approach) and the participant should demonstrate an innovative aspect to their research or their ability to enable technology transfer. At the time of submission, applicants should hold a PhD or have four years of research experience and not have spent more than 12 months in Belgium over the last three years. One of the primary aims of the project is to raise the profile of research in Wallonia. Currently the region has numerous multi-nationals active in the agri-food industry, life sciences, transport and logistics, aeronautics and space, engineering and new materials, biomedicine, construction and ICT and employs over 5 500 researchers. Demoitié notes that the hope is that the researchers who participate in the programme will become ‘ambassadors of Wallonia’ in the frame of their collaboration with the region. The cut-off date for the next call in both categories is 30 September 2015. For further information, please visit: BEWARE FELLOWSHIPS