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The International Post doc Fellowship Programme in Plant Sciences

Final Report Summary - PLANT FELLOWS (The International Post doc Fellowship Programme in Plant Sciences)

PLANT FELLOWS is an international post doc fellowship programme in the field of plant sciences co-funded by the SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME (FP7) Marie Curie Actions – People, Co-funding of Regional, National and International Programmes (COFUND).

The aim of PLANT FELLOWS was to make research in plant sciences more attractive to researchers. PLANT FELLOWS did this by increasing the transnational mobility of postdoctoral researchers, giving them the opportunity to deepen and widen their skills and to provide them with adequate working conditions. In addition, PLANT FELLOWS offered considerable structuring effect at the postdoctoral level. This includes the organisation of high quality training, active career development, knowledge-sharing, and strong participation of women in research and development.

PLANT FELLOWS has become a successful and vibrant fellowship programme. We have noticed an increasing interest from scientist all over the world. PLANT FELLOWS published 4 calls, worldwide. 1201,48 fellowship months have been awarded to an excellent cohort of 51 candidates. Over 120 evaluators from 21 different countries guaranteed an open, fair and transparent selection process. Different kinds of promotion materials, templates and guidelines for applicants, evaluators and also host organisations facilitated the application, selection and reporting process.

PLANT FELLOWS offered a significant international dimension to the outgoing mobility of EU Member State or Associated Country residents. 14 fellows made use of this opportunity. Thanks to the incoming fellowship scheme PLANT FELLOWS has enabled 32 experienced researchers from Third Countries, EU Member States and Associated Countries to be hosted in Switzerland or in an EU Member State and to benefit from an excellent and vibrant research environment. The reintegration fellowship scheme has enabled the reintegration of 5 Member State or Associated country nationals who have carried out research in a Third Country for at least 3 years.

PLANT FELLOWS has established the first European TRAINING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME in the area of plant sciences for post docs. The Programme offers high-quality training and outstanding career development options in accordance with requirements of different sectors from academia to industry: including career development workshops, complementary skills training and industry visits. The fellows of the programme had access to a pool of 24 mentors, experienced researchers in plant science with outstanding realms and impact in European research landscape and experts from industry with strong business backgrounds.
Unique in its kind, the fellows had the opportunity to obtain a CERTIFICATION as groundwork for future appointments. The certification is accredited by 8 European universities and research organisations and gives evidence of continuous education and career development activities of the fellows. It follows the recommendations for life-long learning in the European Qualification Framework and the European Framework for Research Careers.

A Gender Action Plan was in place to monitor gender equality at all levels. Carefully defined actions made sure to raise gender awareness and to increase the number of women in senior decision-making positions in research. The PLANT FELLOWS mentorship programme particularly advised on the progress of junior women scientists to senior positions and to achieve independent scientific career as group leaders, including dedicated career workshops. The programme hosted 50% female fellows, 20 % female evaluators, 40% female mentors. 4 fellows took advantage of the opportunity to facilitate parental care by part-time fellowships.

PLANT FELLOWS offered a research environment that is unique in its nature, with possibilities and opportunities to collaborate with scientists from many different fields of research. The variety of different topics and the many different disciplines were very well received and considered as an added value of the programme. Thus, the fellows can learn from other disciplines and develop a broad perspective. Through the integrated network activities (such as symposia, idea labs and speed dating), we fostered in academia- industry collaborations and promoted collaborations among researchers from different countries and scientific environments both at the European and international level. The contacts made now will build a basis for future multidisciplinary collaborations. Integration and Alumni tools will provide the basis for long-term networking.


- 51 fellows (=1201,48 fellowship months person months) from 25 different nationalities (32 incoming, 14 outgoing, 5 reintegration) succeeded in obtaining a broad spectrum of research topics and disciplines in the field of plant sciences at 11 different HOs
- Training certificate accredited by 8 international outstanding research organisations
- 50% female fellows, 20% female evaluators, 40% female mentors
- 59 submitted peer-reviewed publications (stand Aug 2016, many more to come)
- 1 patent, 1 patent under review
- On average 150 request per call, increasing with each call, 4 calls in total
- 2 new HOs have been integrated during the programme duration
- 5 of fellows started an independent assistant professorship after the fellowship, 5 are employed at governmental research institutions
- Very high satisfaction of fellows appreciating in particularly the training and career development opportunities and vast networking opportunities (proven by questionnaires)

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