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2020 researchers: Train To Move

Final Report Summary - T2M (2020 researchers: Train To Move)

On the 1st January 2014, the Università degli Studi di Torino (UNITO) launched a new international fellowship programme called 2020 researchers: TRAIN TO MOVE (T2M). T2M was cofunded by the European Commission through the Marie Curie COFUND Programme (FP7-GA 609402) and by the Compagnia di San Paolo, a banking foundation located in Turin.
T2M represented a pilot training programme for the regional and national contexts, attracting talented experienced researchers in Italy, offering them a specific training aimed at empowering their opportunities of career in the ERA landscape.
T2M aimed at maximizing career opportunities for experienced researchers through a transnational incoming mobility experience, enriched by the development of individual research projects and the provision of an extensive training, encompassing scientific, technical and complementary skills.
To achieve this aim, T2M programme launched 2 public calls for proposals, respectively in March 2014 and March 2015, assigned 14 fellowships each, with a total of 28 transnational incoming mobility fellowships. Each fellowship lasted 24 months. The target, experienced researchers either with up to 7 years of research experience after completion of PhD, or with 4 to 10 years of research track record since the achievement of a MSc degree (or equivalent title warranting access to a PhD course) was selected through an open and merit-based procedure, implemented by an independent Scientific Selection Committee set up and managed by the European Science Foundation (ESF).
Each prospective fellow could freely chose amongst 26 UNITO hosting department and could freely submit the research proposal in more the 250 research areas offered by each call, encompassing all scientific fields, except engineering and architecture domains. No pro rata to research areas were established, excellence was the only criterion adopted to grant the fellows.
Once the selection was completed, UNITO implemented dedicated supporting measures to ensure fellows could exploit the maximum of their T2M experience. T2M fellows were appointed with an employment contract and adequate working conditions were guaranteed. A dedicated T2M Management Team, made of experts of UNITO EU Support Office, was set up to support technical and administrative related issues. T2M Management Team was also the main reference contact point for T2M fellows and acted as technical coordinator amongst the involved actors. To ensure advance in scientific career development, each fellow was appointed a Scientific Supervisors who were in charge of supporting fellows in conducting research, dissemination and communication activities. Supervisors belonged to the hosting department and were pursuing research in the research area selected by the fellow during the application. The specific supporting scheme of the Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP) contributed to foster researchers’ career improvement. PCDPs, issued soon after the fellowships started, were intended to be a proactive tool for fellows for monitoring progress and achievements reached. PCDPs were released individually, according to fellows’ needs and projects, and supported fellows in planning their training and career needs and scientific objectives.
T2M projects implementation was monitored through day by day communication amongst fellows and supervisors and by yearly reports.
Moreover, a scientific and non-scientific training programme to boost researchers’ scientific expertise and complementary skills was set up, matching both academic and non-academic sector needs. Three editions on training on complementary skills were delivered to strengthen fellows’ non-scientific skills and widen their opportunities of career both in the academic and in the non-academic sector. All seminars and workshop had been held by national and international professionals in the field, belonging both to public and private sectors, with solid background and a consolidated know-how. Topics of workshops were chosen according to the with reference to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.

The impact of T2M programme realized at various levels. Within the institution, T2M programme consolidated criteria for international openness and fair selection procedure, representing therein a best practice in implementation components, like the communication plan, the recruitment of experienced researchers and the offer of a scientific and non- scientific training to boost researchers’ career development. T2M programme features were adopted by UNITO post doc researchers, as they were involved in the Training Programme on Career Development or benefited from seminars and conferences organized by T2M fellows. T2M contributed to increase internationalization, networking and excellence in research within the local, national and international contexts. After T2M fellowship, 4 fellows had a position of 1 year post doc within UNITO, 3 fellows were appointed as temporary researchers within UNITO and other Italian universities, 3 fellows were awarded with a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship.
On the regional economic tissue, the contact with the socio-economic context was encouraged during the programme mainly through the network of the scientific supervisors. According to the specificity of the projects, a number of visits to institutions in the non-academic sector were organized during the programme. Within the programme 1 patent was registered. Moreover, as projects were funded in different and complementary scientific disciplines, yearly reports of fellows show that research projects results were of interest of a broad range of stakeholders, both from the academic and the non-academic sectors.

In the framework of initiatives devoted to promote excellence in research, the experience of T2M was relevant to stakeholders dealing with research funding at local level, as the banking foundation Compagnia di San Paolo. This resulted in a new COFUND programme, cofunded again by the banking foundation Compagnia di San Paolo, managed by Unito and targeted to PhD students (GA. nr. 754511, project Tech4Culture, www.tech4culture.unito.it).
This contributed to strengthening the impact at local, regional and national level, by promoting a second measure to attract outstanding researchers.

The overall cornerstone of programme communication strategy before, during and after call for proposals was the programme web site www.train2move.unito.it , in which all information regarding the programme and fellows have been openly published. T2M Management Team could be contacted at train2move@unito.it.