Skip to main content

International Fellowship Program on Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology

Final Report Summary - IFP-MUST (International Fellowship Program on Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology)

Final Publishable Summary Report

The COFUND MUST (Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology – www.must-cofund.ch) funded a total of 13 fellowships during a four year period between 2011 and 2015. The fellowships were embedded in the Swiss ultrafast spectroscopy network (NCCR MUST) and allowed the fellows to pursue high level research either in one of the member institutions or spread over several different institutions depending on their needs. The common denominator of all fellows was ultrafast spectroscopy, however, the individual research fields ranged from ultrafast phase transitions in solids to dynamical processes in bio-molecules. The fellowships were announced on international web based academic job platforms and the fellows were selected by a national and international board of reviewers.
The institutions and PI’s involved were:
Prof. T. Feurer University of Bern, Department of Physics, Institute of Applied Physics
Prof. U. Keller ETH Zurich, Department of Physics, Institute of Quantum Optics
Prof. P. Hamm
Prof. J. Osterwalder University of Zürich, Department of Chemistry, Department of Physics
Prof. M. Meuwly University of Basel, Department of Chemistry
Prof. M. Chergui
Prof. J. Moser
Prof. U. Roethlisberger EPF Lausanne, Department of Chemistry
Prof. E. Vauthey
Prof. J.P. Wolf University of Geneva, Department of Physics, Department of Chemistry
Dr. P. Beaud Paul Scherrer Institute


The program was managed by a steering committee headed by Prof. T. Feurer with assistance by Prof. U. Keller, Euresearch and an international Advisory Board.

The scientific director met on an annual basis with the director of the training program, Prof. Ursula Keller, and the representatives of each participating institution (every January). Moreover, the scientific director had monthly video conferences with director of the training program and the managing team of Cofund (initially Andrea Cannizzo followed by Simone Corry) and the NCCR MUST management team (Anna Garry and Jan Van Beilen) to discuss relevant issues.
The research activities were complemented by several career development activities offered to the fellows. All fellows participated in the annual network meeting which typically lasted three days in January and included tutorials, scientific talks, poster sessions and career development activities. Also every year we organized a get-together for the fellows during the summer in form of a barbeque. On an irregular bases we also organized different career development courses, such as negotiation skills, gender issues et cetera.
With the end of the program most fellows successfully completed their fellowships and their research as documented by the large number of scientific publications, i.e. a total of 50 publications in peer reviewed journals. Three out of 13 fellows have moved on to a professor position (J. Johnson – Salt Lake City, US; F.A. Miannay – Lille, France; Y. Liu – China) or became research associates in government labs (M. Gerson – Uni Marburg, Germany; T. Nagy – Hungarian Academy of Sciences; S. Hermelin – Lyon France). That is about have of our fellows have found permanent positions in academia which is why we consider our cofund program highly successful. Some fellows decided to stay inside the network and to continue their research within a follow-up postdoctoral appointment and some have moved on to other appointments.
In summary, the cofund program has not only helped our network to attract some of the most brilliant young postdoctoral fellows, but it has also offered them a unique multi-disciplinary scientific environment in which they could optimally pursue their research goals. The network helped them not only to be involved in state-of-the-art research but also to actively shape their own science network, to obtain excellent and dedicated training in soft skills, such as scientific writing, negotiation skills, or gender issues, but also to visit relevant scientific conferences all around the world. The high number of publications, the overall positive feedback from the fellows and – most importantly – the fact that many have moved on to permanent academic positions, underlines the successful work the cofund program enabled us to achieve. Many of the fellows have moved away from the network but stay connected to former collaborators and group members. In retrospect all fellows have been appropriately honored through receipt of a Cofund Fellowship, and they will go on to do great honor to society in return.