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INnovative Life sCIence Phd Programme in South ITaly

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INCIPIT (INnovative Life sCIence Phd Programme in South ITaly)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2021-12-31

The INCIPIT CO-FUND project aims are providing an innovative, multidisciplinary and intersectoral training in the field of Life and Biomaterial Sciences for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) and creating a node of excellence in the South of Italy by pooling the different and complementary expertise of 8 research institutes of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), as well as the competencies of 3 Doctoral Schools and several academic, non-profit and industrial Organizations.
INCIPIT envisaged the recruitment of 35 PhD students through transparent and equitable selection procedures, based on merit and equal opportunities. The calls were open to applicants from everywhere in the world. This contributed to create for the INCIPIT PhD students an international context and strengthen science diplomacy. On the other side, it provided critical mass and gave an additional boost to the much-needed internationalization of the PhD research programmes in the South of Italy. The participation of different research institutes of CNR (IAC, IBB, IBP, ICAR, ICB, IEOS, IGB, IPCB), with different and complementary expertise (ranging from biology and genetics to mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry and medicine and offering well-equipped laboratories and cutting-edge technologies) ensured to the fellows the intersectoral exposure and the interdisciplinarity research options. The participation of private industries in some of the PhD activities and the specific training on transferable skills favoured the strengthening of Academia-Industry links while providing the PhD students with tools useful to their employment/career and to the socio-economic growth of countries.
The action concluded with 30 ESR PhD graduated in different topics with 66,6% of women. The Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) have been recruited by the CNR and hosted in eight of its institutes located in Naples and Catania.
INCIPT PhD programme included: laboratory activities to carry out doctoral research projects; theoretical courses run by the Doctoral Schools of the Università degli Studi della Campania 'Luigi Vanvitelli' (previously named Second University of Naples (SUN), the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Catania; activities related to transferable skills. ESRs attended multidisciplinary courses and had the possibility to choose 1-2 day theoretical or practical courses, according to their curriculum and interest. Secondment abroad was another opportunity given to the ESRs.
INCIPIT exploited the triple "i" dimension of the training: 1.International mobility: they have been embedded in an international scientific environment and part of existing networks of international collaborations, had the opportunity of secondments abroad, new collaborations with international partners; attendance to international summer schools. 2.Intersectoral exposure: experts from industry and non-profit research organizations have been invited to give trainings on various topics, from communication to lay public, project management, to entrepreneurship, intellectual properties and ethical issues, take part to CNR collaboration with industry; 3.Inter-disciplinarity: some ESRs had tutors from different sectors to have both mathematical and bio-imaging insight, for example or to apply some practices to different sectors.
According to the INCIPIT programme, the following main activities have been carried out: a) Management of the programme; b) Launch of the Calls and Evaluation and Selection of PhD students; b) Implementation of training activities and research projects; c) Dissemination of the project opportunities and first project results.a) With reference to the first point, the MAC (Management Committee) and the SB (Supervisory Board) have been established. They met periodically for ensuring the smoothy advancement of the action and to provide some minor changes to individual training when needed. MAC ensured the day-to-day management, including the recruitment of ESR and their enrolment into the PhD Doctoral Schools, the organization of their secondment, the submission of the Deliverables envisaged for the period, the reporting of the fellows data on the EC portal, the training on transferable skills. The request for amendment of the project: postponement of the end-date gave the opportunity to one fellow to recover the months of their maternity leave and have the same opportunities of all the other fellows enrolled in the programme.
b) MAC ensured the launch of 35 calls. For each call one or two supervisors have been assigned. It also acted as Help-desk, providing applicants , and then ESR, with continuous support and information. Finally, at the the end of the selection process, there were 31 fellows contractualized and 30 who finished the whole PhD programme and graduated (One of the fellow enrolled officially resigned from the PhD program for personal and professional reasons, having found a position opportunity in October 2018). c) Training was ensured by each CNR Institute, the Doctoral schools and other partners of the programme. MAC organized training on transferable skills. Moreover, ESR had the opportunity to work in team on specific research projects and attend training courses related to the main subject of their research, they attended congresses and summer schools, realized posters.
d) The calls and the aims of the project were disseminated through the INCIPIT web site, the INCIPIT flyer, EURAXESS, through contacts with Scientific Attachés, Marie Curie Alumni Association, supervisors' collaborators, international conferences. INCIPIT programme and the specific fellows’ projects have been disseminated in many national and international conferences and events.
The fellows took part in Exhibitions and events aimed at creating closer relationship between research, academy and citizens. Many of them participated in the EU Researchers’ Nights projects (SHARPER and MEETmeTONIGHT).
All the fellows continuing the programme took a PhD Degree. They contributed to increase international research activities in the South of Italy: their demand of internationalisation had a positive impact on the environment and the working team of the Host Institutes. On the other side, the Fellows declared to achieve the following results: the possibility to experience intersectoral research team work, acquire a better approach towards scientific thinking, be involved in the publication of scientific papers and in project proposal drafting, attend international conferences and congresses useful for their career.
INCIPIT contributed to research excellence in Life Science and above all to the cross-cutting fertilization of different disciplines and different approaches to the same topic; it improved internationalization of research; contributed to the socio-economic growth by investing on R&I dealing with global issues; increased opportunities of employment and/or entrepreneurship.
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The first PhD graduated at Vanvitelli University