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A Programme to attract International Experienced Researchers to the Basque Country in any Research Field

Final Report Summary - SMARTBRAIN2 (A Programme to attract International Experienced Researchers to the Basque Country in any Research Field)

Summary description of the project objectives:

The SmartBRAIN2 programme is based on a combination of incoming and reintegration of researchers of excellence (of any nationality) to reinforce the scientific excellence of the Basque system, as well as the excellence of the European Research Area through knowledge sharing on a multi-level basis and through the interaction of researchers in interdisciplinary research fields.
The Basque Country, organized in research communities closely linked through its business and social fabric, is building its research system on researchers and capacities. In this environment, that constitutes a simple, transparent and coherent system based on various public and private sources of finance (national, regional and European), transnational mobility represents an action of crucial importance for innovation and, consequently, for the need to ensure enhanced collaboration between the worlds of academic research and industry.
The Ikerbasque Foundation’s activity represents an important actor in the culmination of the mission to make the Basque Country a truly scientific–technological community, which combines human skills, infrastructures and, which opens its arms to global knowledge by establishing consortia and collaborative agreements with the most influential knowledge centres worldwide. In this sense, the importance of having international researchers coming to the Basque Country is a key aspect that is included in our programme.

Description of the main results achieved so far:

After approval of the corresponding amendments, the project has been extended 1 years more, having them a duration of 6 years, 72 months. The SmartBRAIN2 project has been running between 01/10/2014 and 30/09/2020. During such period, Ikerbasque has recruited a total of 40 researchers that in total have executed 102,5 fellows year (i.e. 1.230,21 PMs) in the framework of the COFUND programme. Taking into account that the initially estimated number of researchers to be recruited was 41 and it was expected to implement 168,75 fellows year, the final project executions has been of 97,5% in terms of the number of recruited researchers and of 60,75% in terms of fellows year.
During the whole project duration, 7 calls were launched in the framework of SmartBRAIN2 (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). 2020 call is currently under evaluation and its implementation will be out of the SmartBRAIN2 project duration. All received applications among all these calls were evaluated based on:
- Scientific merit and research track
- Relevance of research topic and latest publications
- Concordance with Basque research capabilities
The main work within the project so far has involved the publication, evaluation and negotiation, and contractual procedures related with the above calls.
The recruitment of the 40 research professors among the different calls has been as follows: 12 from call 2014, 4 from call 2015, 4 from call 2016 and 5 from call 2017, 8 from call 2018 and 7 from call 2019. When presenting this report, still data from call 2020 is not available, and researchers to be recruited will be out of the scope of SmartBRAIN2.
Although we are below the initial estimation, this number of top-class researchers represent a significant critical mass to generate the high impact required in the Basque Science System, and consistent to also attract the additional funds for research in the different research centres involved in the programme.

Project website: https://www.ikerbasque.net/en/calls/permanent-positions-2020