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Marie Curie cofunding of the FRICON mobility programme in the Research Council of Norway scheme for independent basic research projects

Periodic Report Summary 2 - FRICON (Marie Curie cofunding of the FRICON mobility programme in the Research Council of Norway scheme for independent basic research projects)

The FRICON (FRIPRO mobility grant) programme focuses on outgoing mobility with a return
phase. It is an independent mobility and career programme under the umbrella of the Norwegian
national scheme for independent basic research projects, FRIPRO . It is managed by the Research
Council of Norway (RCN). The programme targets accomplished younger researchers of all
nationalities that have been awarded their PhD 0 + max. 6 years before the call deadline. FRIPRO
Mobility Grant is strongly influenced of the MSCA Individual Fellowships and a good example of
how to create synergy between national and EU funding schemes.
The proposers are free to choose topic and host institution in order to secure the best career options.
The selected fellows will spend two years abroad at an acknowledged institution, followed by a
one-year return phase at a Norwegian research institution. The fellows are employed by the
return-host during the whole fellowship period. This ensures the benefits of the Norwegian social
security system, including pension rights.
At the end of the project period, FRICON will have had four calls with deadlines in 2014, 2015,
2016 and 2017.Each call will have awarded 14 fellowships.

After receiving 132 applications for the first two calls, the number of applications increased to 160 for the last two calls. Of these 160 applications, 55 has been in the field of Social Sciences and humanities (SH), 50 in Life Sciences (LS) and 55 in Physical Science and Engineering (PE).

Selected fellows

57 fellows have been selected, 17 of these from the SH domain, 25 from LS and 15 from PE.
The average age of the grantees is 33 years at the time of the call deadline. The average time since
PhD at the call deadline was 1.5 years.

Gender balance:
One concern at the start of the programme was that fewer women than men would find the
programme attractive. This has not been the case. In all, 49 % of the applications have been from
women. Moreover, female applicants have been more successful than male applicants. With an
almost equal number of applications from both genders, 63 % (36 out of 57) of the fellowships
granted so far has been to females. The highest share of selected female fellows is in the field of SH
(76 %, 13 out of 17), followed by LS (64 %, 16 out of 25) while the gender balance in number of
selected fellows in the PE domain are almost equal (47 % female fellows, 7 out of 15).
All fellows receive a mobility allowance. This mobility allowance is differentiated depending on
whether the fellow is travelling with family or not. 47 %) of the selected fellows (27 out of 57) are travelling with family and there is no difference between female and male fellows in this

Nationality of selected fellows
A low level of outward mobility for Norwegian researchers, as recently reported by an evaluation of
the Research Council of Norway, motivated the establishment of the mobility programme. Even so,
the programme has been open from applicants of all nationalities as long as they comply with the
established eligibility rules. 22 out of 57 (39 %) successful applicants are non-Norwegians.
Looking more closely at the 22 selected fellows that were not Norwegian
nationals, seven of them had a PhD degree from Norway. These results indicate that the program has been successful in selecting the candidates in an open manner, but still fulfilling its expressed goal, increasing mobility of Norwegian increasing outward mobility from Norwegian institutions.

Countries visited by selected fellows
The USA is the most popular choice for outgoing host country, followed by the UK. This is perhaps
not surprising since there are strong research ties between Norway and these countries, and they have
many strong research institutions.