The European Respiratory Society (ERS), the main scientific society in the respiratory field in Europe, promotes research into respiratory diseases in children or adults, including asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, lung cancer, and sleep-related respiratory disease. Since 1998, the ERS has operated a successful programme of trans-national exchange of researchers in pneumology and respiratory science. The aim of the current RESPIRE proposal, is to expand this programme and stimulate post-doctoral research opportunities in the respiratory field within Europe. RESPIRE will fund 1-year research fellowships to enable holders of a PhD (or others with equivalent research experience) to conduct research in a European country other than their own. The specific objective of RESPIRE is to triple the number of fellowships from the current 2 post-doctoral fellowships per year to a total of 18 fellowships over 3 years. Candidates from outside Europe will be eligible, but only host institutions based in Europe will participate in the programme. There will be no discrimination according to age, gender, ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs. In line with the existing evaluation process of the ERS, RESPIRE will ensure that all applications undergo an impartial and rigorous peer-review evaluation by recognised (but anonymous) international experts. Then, through a procedure free of conflicts of interest, the scientific committee of the ERS will select the fellows based on scientific merits and transparent criteria. RESPIRE will be evaluated using quantifiable scientific output measures, as well as indicators of human achievements. RESPIRE will not only boost the careers of the fellowship recipients, it will also promote the European Research Area, by creating the platform needed to enhance and maintain scientific networks, and retaining promising researchers in Europe. This will in turn be an important step towards conquering some of the most disabling diseases in Europe.
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