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CO-FUNDED Brain Circulation Scheme

Final Report Summary - CO-CIRCULATION (CO-FUNDED Brain Circulation Scheme)

Co-Funded Brain Circulation Scheme program (Co-Circulation) created in partnership with The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and European Union Research Executive Agency (REA) on 24.02.2012 in scope of Marie Sklodowska – Curie Actions “Co-funding of Regional, National and International Programs”of Seventh Europen Framework Programs. Co-Circulation Scheme aimed at providing 100 Experienced Researchers (ER’s) of any nationality with funding for incoming mobility for periods of 20-24 months (12 month for last call) . The project also focused at enhancing career perspectives of ER’s and assisting them in obtaining an independent research position. Funded fellows appointed under an employment contract, received adequate funding and provided with full social security coverage, in line with provisions in the Charter and Code. The scheme had a bottom-up approach and fellows encouraged to submit proposals that fitted best to their professional development needs. Applications assessed by independent, peer review panels and evaluation criteria and processes clearly defined.

The Co-Circulation Scheme filled a gap in the funding opportunities offered by TUBITAK and fully supported the Science and Technology policies of Turkey. Strategic impact on TUBITAK’s funding schemes and on the Turkish and European research landscape was another pillar of the scheme. The Co-Circulation Scheme also fully supportive of the objectives of the activity heading Life-long learning and career development, and of other European policies.

The project had €11.299.762,50 budget of which €4.519.905 co-funded by EC/ERA and €6.779.857,50 funded by TUBITAK as its own contribution which were equal to 60% of total budget. Living allowance of 3,667 € / month paid for Experienced Researchers with less than 10 years of experience plus the 500 € / month travel and mobility allowance which adds up to €4,167 per month. On the other side Experienced Researchers with more than 10 years of experience paid 4,292 € / month living allowance plus the € 500 travel and mobility allowance which totals up to € 4,792. Also 600 €/month of Research Cost Contribution paid for the research related expenditures.

On 01.04.2012 the project started officially and ended on 31.03.2018 which includes one year of extension. Within the life cycle of project 4 calls published (2012-13-14-15) with the duration of 12 weeks minimum. 280 Applications submitted by the researchers, 48 applications found ineligible as a result of eligibility check procedure. Minimum 7 scientific panels established for evaluation of proposals annually which adds up to 31 panels for the whole period. 284 experts took part in the evaluation processes where each proposal read at least by three expert. Proposals scrutinized by the evaporators in ethical issues aspect while the scientific assessments are made. Ethical Committees approved 9 proposals which required further attention and/or approval from related host institutions. 94 Proposals funded at mostly academic institutions in variety of scientific disciplines.

4 Calls published wihtin the first four year of the project. The details of each Call, evaluation and selection cycle explanined below.

First Call: The Call published between the dates of 07.06.2012 and 07.09.2012. 66 applications received, 61 of the proposals passed eligibility check phase while 5 of the applications found ineligible. All eligible applications (61) evaluated and 26 fellowships awarded as a resutl of selection process. 3 out of 26 successful researchers withdrew from the program due to various reasons. All the proposals related to the first call implemented by researchers as planned.

Second Call: Total of 78 applications received between the dates of 01.05.2013 and 20.09.2013. 57 proposals passed eligibility phase while 21 application found ineligible. All eligible applications evaluated by the 66 expert in 9 different scientific panel and 26 fellowships awarded as a result of selection process. 2 proposals terminated before the regular end date due to noncompliance of the Term and Conditions of the Co-Circulation. Rest of the projects (24) of second call implemented according to the plan in the proposals.

Third Call: 69 researchers applied for the Co-Circulation project during the 3rd Call which published from 05.05.2014 until 26.09.2014.16 applications identified as ineligible due to various reasons such as missing or improper documents. Applications which passed the eligibility phase (53) evaluated by the 84 experts in 7 different scientific panels. Based on the scientific evaluation process and ranking list of the proposals, 29 proposals selected to be funded while 24 proposals found unsuccessful. Also, 8 applicants withdrew from the Co-Circulation while 3 proposals terminated by the Steering Committee. After the withdrawals, 19 proposals are granted the Co-Circulation fellowship and implemented according to the plan specified in the work packages with minor deviations. Two proposals which were selected to be funded within the scientific panel of life, required to be reviewed further by the host institution’s Ethical Review Panel according to Consensus Report Summary. Both proposals approved by the host institution’s ethical committee.

Fourth Call: Co-Circulation received 67 applications 04.05.2015 through 21.09.2015. Eligibility check phase resulted in 5 ineligible applications due to reasons such as missing or improper documents. Eligible applications evaluated by the 66 experts in 7 different scientific panels. 28 applications selected to be funded based on the scientific evaluation process and ranking list. Also reserve list, which consisted of 5 proposals, published along with the main list on the program’s web page. 7 Researchers withdrew from the project due to various personal and professional reasons. Consequently, proposals in the reserve list which consisted of 5 proposals, moved to the main list. Total of 26 proposals granted the support of the project. All 26 proposals implemented by the researchers according to the plan in work packages. 2 proposals which were selected to be funded within the scientific panel of life and engineering required to be reviewed further by the host institution’s Ethical Review Panel according to Consensus Report Summary of the related proposals. Both proposals approved by the host institution’s ethical committee and documents sent to the management.

Overall Impact of Co-Circulation Scheme

The project contributed to the general objective and expected impact of the MSCA CO-FUND action, increased the transnational mobility for training and career development of Experienced Researchers, attracted research talent to Turkish Research Landscape which is an integral part of the European Research Area, by scheme which enhanced the career perspectives of the researchers regardless of nationality.

The program supported the career development of experienced researchers and enhance their growth and development towards a leading, independent research position by enabling researchers to choose freely their research topic and the host organization in Turkey. It allowed experienced researchers to gain new and/or to broaden existing competences and experiences by allowing them to undertake a research period of (12 and) 20 to 24 months in another host organization than their own. Working on a high-quality research project lead in high quality research outputs. The increased number of publications and/or patents added to fellows’ CV also had positive effects on their research careers.

Fellowship not only researchers to learn new scientific skills, techniques and methodologies, but also allowed them to acquire non-scientific skills such as project management or procurement of research funding. In addition, implementing a research in a country other than their own lead to personal growth and development and independence. This all helped the Experienced Researchers to attain and/or strengthen a leading independent position. Consequently, about 32 % of fellows offered permanent positions at hot institutions at which they carried out the project or from a different institutions.

The combined effort of Turkish funding and European funding and investment of both Turkey and the European Union had greater effect than a purely Turkish or a purely European funding modality. With this synergy, the Co-Circulation Scheme ensured that the researchers enjoyed fair and attractive conditions of funding and/or salaries with adequate and equitable social security provisions which is an improvement when compared with the existing national programs.

Impacts on the Specific ERA Goals

The better integration of Europe’s scientific and technological area is an indispensable condition for invigorating research in Europe. In this respect, Co-Circulation Scheme contributed to overcome the fragmentation among national (Turkish) and European objectives, evaluation methods and working conditions. More coordinated implementation of national and European research programs contribute to achieving the ERA goals of better integration and of overcoming fragmentation.

During the lifetime of the project, 248 peer reviewed articles published in variety of scientific journals. The figure indicate almost (2.6) every fellow published 3 peer reviwed articles on evarage. The number of conferences fellows participated in Turkey, Europe or any other part of the world add up to 297 which indicates that on evarage every fellow participated in 3 conferences. 146 Workshops either organized or visited by Co-Circulation fellows while 121 abstracts are published among other activities.

The objectives of Co-Circulation Scheme were fully in line with the objectives of EU FP7 Marie Curie Actions Individual Schemes which meant that Turkish and European programes worked together towards the same objective for life-long learning and career development; and therefore contributed to a more coordinated implementation of Turkish and European funding programes for mobility of researchers. Since the Co-Circulation Scheme offered to researchers from any nationality, it contributed to solving the so-called isolation problem of national research systems.

Researchers coming from different countries had the flexibility in finding an appropriate hosting institution carrying out research in his/her research field. This ensured that common research methods and approaches used during the whole duration of the project. This also helped the circulation of these methods among the other institutions the researcher will work afterwards.
To summarise: the Co-Circulation Scheme contributed to several specific ERA goals, including overcoming of the fragmentation of national (Turkish) and European research policy objectives, evaluation methods and working conditions; creating long lasting international cooperation, and developing common research methods and approaches.

Effectiveness of the project as well the fellows’ satisfaction level with Co-Circulation assessed by the impact assessment survey. Overall contribution of project in terms of researchers working conditions, personal career development, scientific knowledge, from the researchers’ perspective explored.
Fellows asked to rate the project from 1 to 5 (poor - excellent):

• 84% of the fellows rated the help of the Co-Circulation to their personal career development as excellent or good;
• 78% of the fellows rated the help Co-Circulation Fellowship Program in their integration to ERA as excellent or good;
• 87% of the fellows rated the contribution of Co-Circulation Fellowship Program to their scientific knowledge & background as excellent or good;
• 62 % of the Fellows rated the overall quality of Co-Circulation Fellowship Program as excellent; and 32% rated as good.

94% of the fellows are either extremely satisfied (5) or well satisfied (4) with the project. The responses of the fellows illustrate that the Co-Circulation is successful and satisfactory despite the fact that the project had some shortcomings.

List of Host Organisations

1. Acibadem University
2. Akdeniz University
3. Ankara University
4. Balikesir University
5. Bogazici University
6. Canik Basari University
7. Celal Bayar University
8. Cukurova University
9. Dokuz Eylul University
10. Ege University
11. Engitek Muhendislik
12. Gazi University
13. Gediz University
14. Hacettep University
15. Hayat Kimya Sanayi University
16. Ihsan Dogramacı University
17. Istanbu Medipol University
18. Istanbu Teknik University
19. Istanbul University
20. Istanbul Bilgi University
21. Istanbul Medeniyet University
22. Istanbul Sehir University
23. Izmir Yuksek Teknoloji Institute
24. Kadir Has University
25. Koc University
26. Konya Necmettin Erbakan University
27. Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar University
28. Ortadogu Teknik University
29. Sabancı University
30. TED University
31. TOBB Ekonomi ve Teknoloji University
32. TUBITAK - BILGEM Institute
33. Turgut Ozal University
34. Turk - Alman University
35. Uludag University
36. Yeditepe University