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Research Based University Chairs of Excellence- Universities of Paris

Final Report Summary - RBUCE-UP (Research Based University Chairs of Excellence- Universities of Paris)

1.1 Summary description of the project context and objectives

In France there are several sources available to finance the mobility of researchers at European, National and Regional levels. The main goal of the project was to profit from the new capabilities offered to the French Higher Education Bodies, for the benefit of researcher’s mobility, following two laws: the 2006 Pact for Research and the 2007 Law for the autonomy and the responsibility of Universities. PRESes (Pôles de Recherche et d’Enseignement Supérieur), as structural organisations, were one of the many new possibilities. The purpose was also to use a new set of competencies in terms of human resources and financial management which enhance the capacity of universities, as well as university clusters, to plan out research and training strategies with a reinforced autonomy.

The project, launched by UniverSud Paris, aimed to create a very open program covering different topics within a large spectrum of academic areas. This was a new programme for the mobility of researchers. The RBUCE-UP programme (Research Based University Chairs of Excellence – Universities of Paris programme) was fundamentally based on individual fellowship applications with the additional objective of providing fellows a fertile scientific environment. Mobility positions included research costs for a two-year period. The calls for proposals, which explicitly describe the purpose of the programme, called for individual applications.

This programme can be seen as a complement to existing initiatives, such as Marie Curie France Regional programmes (MCFR) and National programmes that also offer individual mobility programmes. It was also a complement to the ERC programme (under FP7 Ideas). Therefore, through such a programme, we aspired to excellence.

UniverSud Paris being the RBUCE-UP programme beneficiary, 5 organizations participated as host institutions:
- Paris-Sud University (UPSUD),
- Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University (UVSQ),
- Evry-Val-d’Essonne University (UEVE),
- Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS Cachan),
- Ecole Centrale Paris (ECP).

1.2 Description of the work performed during the programme

The programme was launched on January 1st, 2011 and most of the objectives have been achieved.
A website was launched on March 1st, 2011 to promote as widely as possible the RBUCE-UP programme. At the same time in order to promote the first call a national and international communication campaign has been launched. The objective was not only to disseminate information to the laboratories of host institutions, but also to the potential candidates. The effectiveness of the communication campaign allowed us to disseminate the information widely and has enabled us to receive many applications for each call. An interactive map of participating laboratories has been built to provide information about these to potential candidates.
The selection of candidates was an important part of the work done during this first period. The main selection criterion was excellence. For each proposal, an expert committee has been selected by the Steering Committee. The expert committee consisted of three scientific expert evaluators and a reporting selection committee member. The scientific expert evaluators were selected from a database of 770 experts established by the management team. For the two calls 361 have been realized. See statistics about the programme and selection process in document attached.
The hosting of the laureates was supported by UniverSud Paris in collaboration with Science Accueil (a non-profit organisation in charge of the hosting of foreign researchers in the south of the Paris region). This assistance was designed to facilitate the administrative procedures (visa, work permit, etc.) and to help them find housing.
During this first period we organized two calls for applications. The first call was open from April 1st to June 30th, 2011. We received 65 eligible applications and 11 fellows were recruited. We selected 83 experts to assess the applications received.

The second call was open from January 1st to March 31st, 2012. We received 139 eligible applications and 14 fellows were recruited. We selected 137 experts to assess the applications received.

RBUCE-UP project was also an opportunity to harmonize the Human resources practices of the host institutions participating in the project. During the first year we developed a single employment contract for all host institutions. This employment contract has been used for all fellows recruited during both calls.
No further calls were made and 25 fellows were recruited from the planned 26 (Annex 1). It has not been possible to allocate the grant corresponding to the fellow who was not recruited to other fellows wishing to extend their stay.

In the second period of the project two big communication events have been organized:
- As per annex 1 of the contract we organised a mid-term seminar in 2013. It took place at the “Conseil regional d’Ile-de-France” on 28th May 2013. The conference was held over one day and 127 people attended. The main objective of the conference was to promote the Marie-Curie CoFund action by addressing the positive aspects that stem from the internationalization of a researcher's career.
- In 2014 InSitu Tv, UniverSud Paris own webTv magazine, broadcasted a programme dedicated to the RBUCE-UP programme entitled "The incoming researchers mobility within the plateau de Saclay". The live broadcast took place on 17th October 2014 and builds on RBUCE-UP’s mobility experience.
Fellows recruited through RBUCE-UP programme were unanimously appreciated by the host laboratories. 87.5% of the laboratories hosting fellows are very satisfied with the recruitment, and 12.5% somewhat satisfied. Fellows are also very pleased with this experience that allowed them to perform their research in very good conditions. Thus, during their fellowship they have published or submitted more than 109 scientific books or articles: see list of publications in the document attached.