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Erwin Schroedinger Fellowships

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Bringing the fellows back home to Austria

Austria uses EU funding wisely to encourage the return of its postdoctoral fellows and integrate them into new careers on a national level.

Climate Change and Environment

Almost three decades ago Austria realised the need to broaden international cooperation and exposure for its researchers and scientists. In response, it established the Erwin Schroedinger Programme, an initiative supporting postdoctoral researchers to work in leading research institutions abroad. While the programme has been very successful in upgrading the knowledge of its researchers over the years, many were tempted to stay abroad, contributing to a brain drain in the country. To address this phenomenon, the EU-funded project 'Erwin Schroedinger Fellowships' (SCHROEDINGER FELLOWS) built a mechanism to facilitate the return of the fellows. It achieved this by enabling them to apply for a return phase within the Erwin Schroedinger Programme with support from EU funding. The Schroedinger proposals are not subjected to deadlines and can be submitted on a rolling basis to assist the career paths of young researchers. In more detail, the initiative enables flexible stays abroad from 10 to 24 months, with an optional return phase of up to a year. It allows fellows a free choice of host research institution to work in, with the whole process (from date of application to decision) taking about four months. The project was deemed very successful and boasted a high rate of returning fellows who are pursuing successful careers in Austria today. This was also demonstrated by the number of publications that are being published by the fellows. In this context, SCHROEDINGER FELLOWS has created an excellent model postdoctoral programme that could be replicated in other EU countries. This will help Europe maintain its brightest minds, stoking the knowledge economy and supporting the efforts of the European Research Area (ERA). Austria's example is a healthy one indeed.

Keywords

Fellowship, postdoctoral, Erwin Schroedinger Programme, researchers, brain drain, outgoing, reintegration

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