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Dahlem Research Fellowship for Incoming Experienced Researchers

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Fellowship programme attracts top researchers to Freie Universitaet Berlin

The Dahlem Research School (DRS) of the Freie Universitaet Berlin in Germany has implemented a fellowship scheme to promote the academic careers of researchers. EU funding helped support this initiative, enabling top-level experienced researchers to carry out cutting-edge research within one of the university's eight Excellence Projects.

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Open to researchers in the early stage of their postdoctoral phase, the fellowship scheme targets high-quality research and offers training, mentoring and career development opportunities. The project DRS FELLOWSHIP (Dahlem research fellowship for incoming experienced researchers) was established to help the DRS Fellowship Programme achieve its aims. These cover recruiting/regaining international high-potential researchers, boosting fellows' careers through exposure to environments of research excellence and promoting talent through targeted qualification. A total of 20 fellowships were awarded over the course of the project's 4-year duration. This was accomplished through three calls, which attracted well over 200 applications. The calls, first launched in 2012, were published on international online job portals and through the university's global network of liaison offices. The chosen fellows received funding for a 15-month period and were free to conduct research across a wide range of topics, including Area Studies, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Life Sciences. Examples are 'Automorphisms of Algebraic Curves', 'Neo-liberal globalization and contemporary Islam', and 'Protein scaffolds in the coupling of synaptic exocytosis and endocytosis'. A dedicated web page was launched during the project's mandate, offering support for participating Excellence Projects, peer reviewers and fellows. Additionally, a fellowship wiki was established as an internal information platform for the fellows who represented 12 countries. Six research networks at Freie Universitaet, funded by the German Excellence Initiative, acted as host projects: Excellence Cluster Languages of Emotion, Excellence Cluster Topoi, Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Graduate School of East Asian Studies, Berlin Mathematical School and Excellence Cluster NeuroCure. Of the 20 recruited DRS fellows, 15 secured follow-up positions at universities or research institutions (5 outside Europe and 10 in Europe, of which 4 are at Freie Universitaet). The remaining 5 DRS fellows were awarded a contract extension with University funds to the start of 2016. DRS FELLOWSHIP also facilitated the creation of new networks and collaborations between its fellows and field experts. Importantly, project efforts also contributed to the internationalisation of the research conducted by DRS fellows.

Keywords

Fellowship programme, researchers, Freie Universitaet, academic careers, DRS FELLOWSHIP

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