The EU-funded AGREENSKILLS (International mobility programme to strengthen skills and excellence in research for agriculture) project has emphasised quality rather than number of fellowships. Through networking and career opportunities, the programme’s fellows (incoming and outgoing) were linked with Agreenium’s laboratories and member organisations. Agreenium is a French national higher education and research consortium active in agriculture, forestry, nutrition and the veterinary sector. Basic and applied research projects developed through AGREENSKILLS have contributed to the consortium’s scientific objectives and, on a wider scale, align with the objectives and commitments of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Based on the concept of individual mobility, fellows were able to propose their own topic, host organisation and supervisor. For incoming fellows, mobility periods were between 12 and 24 months, while for outgoing fellows they were between 6 and 24 months (excluding a mandatory 6-month return period). Over its 4.5-year lifetime between 2012 and 2017, AGREENSKILLS evaluated 265 applications, selected 99 candidates and recruited 86 postdoctoral researchers. Of the 86 fellows who benefited from funding, 61 took up incoming mobility projects within France and the remaining 25 benefited from outgoing mobility projects designed for Agreenium’s member researchers outside France. The average selection rate was 37.4 %, while the calls were announced online and in relevant journals. Other project activities included the organisation of annual meetings and research schools, benefiting both incoming and outgoing fellows. Overall, AGREENSKILLS attracted promising creative researchers as well as experienced ones, extending a global multidisciplinary environment in which they could blossom and pursue their research. Most of the 89 fellows have found more permanent positions in research or academia. By promoting international mobility for researchers both within and outside of Europe, AGREENSKILLS has reinforced European leadership in several fields. The programme has contributed to the internationalisation of scientific practices and cross-pollination between different cultures and scientific communities related to topics researched by Agreenium members.
Agriculture, mobility programme, animal health, environment, AGREENSKILLS