The 'AFR - Postdoctoral grants (Luxembourg)' (AFR-PD) project supported doctoral and postdoctoral research training activities for up to four years and two years, respectively. The objective was to encourage early-stage researchers by supporting the first stages of their careers and by enhancing their working conditions. Active over a four-year period, the initiative was implemented by Luxembourg's National Research Fund, a public body with scientific, financial and administrative autonomy. The scheme was open to all candidates — irrespective of citizenship — who wished to undertake research training in Luxembourg or abroad. During the project's lifetime, 95 beneficiaries started their grants in broad research domains ranging from life sciences, biology and medicine to humanities and social sciences. This strong uptake of research projects during the grant period raised the visibility of Luxembourgian R & D. There was an increase in the number of applicants, attracting up-and-coming PhDs and postdocs from outside the country. AFR-PD fostered excellence in the quality of research proposals and projects, leading to more rigorous selection criteria. As a result, the percentage of success dropped from approximately 80 % to 50 %. The project encouraged public–private partnerships by supporting researchers who cooperated with the Luxembourgian private sector in training activities. Companies received supplemental incentives for mutually developing research projects. To improve the career path of researchers, the project also provided stipends for training and non-training courses, global scientific conferences, fieldwork and project-related travel. AFR-PD has contributed to Luxembourg's vision of reaching a critical mass of R & D and becoming an attractive location for research activities in Europe. Project efforts reinforced research collaborations in Luxembourg and abroad, cultivated high-quality training and projects, and promoted the involvement of industry in research.
Research and development, researchers' needs, mobility, career development, postdoctoral grants, research training, public-private partnerships