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COFUNDing of the CERN Fellowship Programme 2014

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COFUND-FP-CERN-2014 (COFUNDing of the CERN Fellowship Programme 2014)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2017-09-30

The COFUND project offers scientists and engineers with ten years of finishing their Bachelor or Master degree challenging opportunities in particle physics research, and in related fields of physics and technology. Applicants go through a thorough selection based on the scientific potential of the proposal, and on the demonstrated excellence of the candidate. COFUND Fellows are the highest-ranked applicants.

Working on frontier research and technology projects and profiting from the unique facilities available at CERN, the co-funded Fellows deepen their knowledge in their own field and acquire international visibility and reputation. They broaden their skills using the numerous training opportunities and through their exposure to an interdisciplinary and multi-national environment. Inter-sectoral skills are fostered through CERN’s industrial collaborations and technology transfer projects. Fellows develop their knowledge and network thanks to the size of the Laboratory, the diversity of the research and training opportunities, and the uniqueness of CERN’s facilities.

Areas in which COFUND Fellows are recruited include experimental particle physics, theoretical physics, astroparticle physics and cosmology, accelerator physics, detector technologies, information technology, data acquisition and control technologies, magnet technology, radio frequency technology, electrical engineering, cryogenics and dissemination of scientific results and technology transfer.

Attractive and competitive employment conditions are maintained by guaranteeing three-year appointments rather than the standard two-year terms of CERN Fellows. At least two of these three years are spent at CERN, COFUND fellows being offered the possibility to spend one year outside CERN, in a field related to their original work at CERN, in a research institute, university or industry of their choice, keeping their full employment contract with CERN.

The objective of the programme is to attract the best possible candidates to develop their knowledge and competencies in physics and related scientific and engineering activities, to develop their employability on the job market both in the academic and not academic world, develop their professional network and to open their mind on working methods in collaboration with big collaborations, teams dedicated to specific projects and with the industrial world.
COFUND is open to all nationalities. Applicants must have a PhD or at least 4 years of experience after the degree which gives access to a doctoral programme.
All researcher declarations have been input and submitted into the Participant Portal. A total of 53 Fellows were declared for a total of 630.5 PM for the first reporting period.

Arrival and induction:
Following arrival at CERN, all Fellows undergo a general induction session of 1.5 days. In addition, the HR coordinator for the Fellowship programme also sends specific information the COFUNDers on how to avail of the special leave secondment (seen Annex).

A drink was organised by HR in September 2016 in the main cafeteria at CERN. All COFUND Fellows were invited and around 60 attended. The Fellows participated in a Q&A session and informal discussions.
Another gathering of Fellows, a “Fellows’ Apero”, was also organized by the Staff Association in February 2017.

Clear guidelines have been set up by the European projects budget officer for the financial reporting and reported on regularly at meetings of the Associates and Fellows Selection Committee. COFUND Fellows are funded 67% by CERN and 33% by the COFUND grant. COFUND Fellows are awarded a Fellowship of 3 years instead of the usual 2 years for a CERN standard Fellow.

WP2: Evaluation and selection
Fellows were selected over 4 Fellow Selection Committees. A total of 1327 valid applications were received and 61 candidates recruited.
2 candidates refused the offer.

Gender distribution of COFUND Fellows:
27% of women were recruited as COFUND Fellows during the reporting period.

Nationality distribution of COFUND Fellows:
Fellows of 22 different nationalities were selected.

Recruitment variation:
2 candidates resigned in the concerned period: 1 of them was offered a permanent position in Israel and the second one a research fellowship at the mathematical institute in Oxford, position that often leads to a permanent position.

The Post Career Break fellowship offers a professional opportunity for keen scientific or engineering talent who have had a temporary absence from the field. Post Career Break Fellows can also be selected as COFUND fellows. For the period concerned, 2 Post Career Break Fellows were offered a COFUND position.

WP3: Dissemination of the Programme and its Calls: Measures were taken to promote the project (see report).

WP4: Ethical issues
The Members of the Associates and Fellows Committee were asked, at each committee, if any ethics issues needed to be raised and/or discussed in the context of COFUND. The Committee noted that there were no issues.
Working on frontier research and technology projects and profiting from the unique facilities available at CERN, COFUND Fellows deepen their knowledge in their own field, become acquainted with new domains of knowledge and activities and acquire international reputation. They broaden their skills using numerous training opportunities and through the exposure to an interdisciplinary, multi-national and multicultural environment. Inter-sectorial skills are fostered through extensive CERN’s industrial collaborations and technology transfer projects as well as through stays in companies that work with CERN, keeping their contract of employment and related benefits with the Organization.
No COFUND Fellow chose this option up to now. Previous experience has shown that they tend to choose to go on secondment rather at the end of their contract. The Coordinator for Fellows has however been contacted by several Fellows who demonstrated an interest to go on secondment later on during their contract.
The CERN COFUND Programme offers excellent training opportunities for experienced researchers in different fields of science and technology, combined with intensive interactions with industrial partners or other academic institutes. The programme provides a set of skills, both technical and transferrable ones as well as enriching experience with challenging S&T projects which ensure a wide scope of professional perspectives to the COFUND Fellows, thus strengthening Europe’s human capital base in science, technology and innovation.

COFUND Fellows have been active in publishing their work. A total of 32 publications were made during the reporting period: 15 articles in journals and 13 publications in conference proceedings / workshops, 1 thesis and 3 other publications. They have all been input in the relevant page of the Participant Portal.

They were also active in disseminating their activities organising and participating in conferences, organising and participating in workshops etc. (see dissemination part fro a complete information).