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South Moravian Programme for Distinguished Reseachers II

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

SoMoPro II 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 II was a continuation of the SoMoPro I (2009 – 2013) with a budget of 4.766 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 scheme. It had been designed to attract skilled researchers originating from the Czech Republic and abroad to come and carry out their research work in South Moravia. The idea behind COFUND was simple: to leverage and structure the impact of funding on research in Europe. The SoMoPro II ran from August 1, 2012 to July 31, 2017.

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 5 years we accommodated 26 top-researchers in the leading research institutions of the region (universities & research centers) 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 at schools, establish new links with other research teams and collaborate with local businesses and industry representatives. 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 third stage (SoMoPro 3) to be operated between 2016 and 2020 giving this unique opportunity to another 18 fellows.

The SoMoPro programme met its goals and 26 fellows completed 796 man-months in Brno. As of January 2017, 18 fellows remained in Brno and 15 of them have been offered a permanent employment/source of funding to continue their assignments in Brno thus contributing to the sustainability of the programme.
In SoMoPro 2 there were research/education institutions involved in the 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. In the application phase, there was interest from other institutions as well Mendel University, School of University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as Czech Academy of Science located in Brno; however "their" applicants were not successful.

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/groups and actively interacted with faculty staff, their persons-in-charge, PhD 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 further 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 http://www.jcmm.cz/en/somopro.html and also on a newly launched www.somopro.cz . Both pages have English as well as Czech versions.

Project Coordinator: Urad Jihomoravskeho kraje, Zerotinovo nam. 3, 601 82 Brno, Czech Republic,
phone: +420 54165 1111

Project Administrator: Jihomoravske centrum pro mezinarodni mobilitu, Mezirka 775/1, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic;
phone: +420541211043