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South Moravian Programme for Distinguished Researchers

Final Report Summary - SOMOPRO (South Moravian Programme for Distinguished Researchers)

SoMoPro was a COFUND Marie Curie project, a regional grant scheme backed by European funding set up to attract skilled researchers to the South Moravian Region.
SoMoPro was a pilot programme running for four years (2009 – 2013) with an overall budget of 3.8 mil. EUR, 60% of which was financed by regional public sources (Region of South Moravia) and remaining 40% was co-funded by the European Commission through the Marie Curie Actions (COFUND project). It had been designed to attract skilled researchers originating from the Czech Republic and abroad to come and carry out their work in South Moravia. The idea behind COFUND was simple: to leverage and structure the impact of funding on research in Europe.
The SoMoPro programme has been a part of the Regional Innovation Strategy which aims at converting the region´s former industrial platform into a place of advanced science and research both basic and applied. The vision of the South Moravian Region is to be the most innovative region in the Czech Republic - and one of the 50 most innovative regions in the EU.
In the previous 4 years we have accommodated 27 top-researchers in the leading research institutions of the region (universities & academy of science) to work on projects in a wide range of disciplines (life sciences, health, physics, etc.) and to share their expertise with local scientists, supervise talented PhD students, help to improve the quality of education in schools, establish new links with other research teams. The concept had been highly evaluated by the EC and other stakeholders; this has resulted to the extension of the programme and further support from COFUND in the second stage (SoMoPro II) to be operated between 2013 and 2017 giving this unique opportunity to another 25 fellows.
The SoMoPro programme met its goal and 27 fellows completed 55 man-years in Brno. 13 fellows were offered a permanent position/source of funding to continue their assignments in Brno thus contributing to the sustainability of the programme.
In total five research/education institutions were involved in the SoMoPro programme hosting the fellows in their premises with Masaryk University being the most active (this can be explained due to the fact that the range of its activities is a very broad one), followed by the Brno University of Technology researching in technical subjects. The list is completed by the forestry/agriculture/food oriented school - Mendel University and two institutions in the framework of the Czech Academy of Science - the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and the Institute of Botany.
The programme has significantly contributed to networking among the fellows and the host institutions, spreading knowledge among the wide range of students and generating a number of outreach activities. The fellows have become members of research teams/group and actively interacted with faculty staff, their persons-in-charge, students and other members of academia. The fellows have also participated in public appearances in TV, radio broadcasting, journal interviews, conferences, public lectures and other events. Besides great number of high-quality scientific outputs, the promotion of the programme in newspapers and journals has positively influenced the public in understanding & appreciation of science in the South Moravia. We hope that this will stimulate interest in science among young generation and talented students. The programme has also supported the implementation of the Regional Innovation Strategy of the South Moravian Region (http://www.ris.cz) and contributed to the enhancement of the competitiveness of the region.

The information on the SoMoPro programme can be found at www.jcmm.cz/en/somopro.html. There is also a Czech language version.

Project Coordinator: Urad Jihomoravskeho kraje, Zerotinovo nam. 3/5, 601 82 Brno, Czech Republic,
phone: +420 54165 1111, fax: +420 54165 1209
Project Administrator: Jihomoravske centrum pro mezinarodni mobilitu, Mezirka 775/1, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic; phone: +420541211043