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South Moravian Programme for Distinguished Researchers 3

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SoMoPro 3 (South Moravian Programme for Distinguished Researchers 3)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2017-09-01 do 2020-08-31

SoMoPro 3 is the third generation of a regional fellowship programme established in 2009 after a successful application to the COFUND scheme. The programme incorporates main features of MSCA Individual Fellowships and offers incoming researchers attractive fellowship conditions and environment in Brno, South Moravia. Within this programme, 2 calls for proposals were open, 18 fellows were funded.

What is the problem / issue being addressed?
The SoMoPro 3 programme was designed to meet the general objective of stimulation of the regional, to foster excellence in researchers' training, mobility and career development and contribute to the Regional Innovative Strategy of the South Moravian Region (below as the RIS SMR) The S 3 programme had all features of the scheme, i.e. international, intersectoral and interdicisplinary research training, as well as transnational and mobility of researchers at all stages of their career, was open to researchers from all countries. Researchers complied with the mobility rules of the MSCA, open and transparent recruitment, with vacancies widely publicised. In case of new research infrastructures in Brno there are synergies with structural funds and with expected impact on leverage funding.

The RIS SMR was established to create the conditions for competitive, knowledge-intensive development, in particular through investment in raising standards in education and research.

Since 2009 the SoMoPro I, SoMoPro II and SoMoPro 3 has contributed to the advancement of science at South Moravia Region. Without the generous support of EC/REA and the local regional government it would not be possible to attract highly qualified researchers from abroad / accommodate ex-pats in Brno.

Why is it important to society?
In today’s world, we are constantly adapting. We are constantly demanding new things and new ways to do things. Without research, our demands would go completely unrecognized. Research is what gets us as the human race further.
We have created and in SoMoPro we have defined 5 research domains that correspond with the profile of region, its resource, current structure of regional business, configuration of academia and there is a hope that in these 5 domains (material research, information and communication technologies, electronics & photonics, advanced manufacturing technologies, biotechnology and biomedicine) we shall benefit from the regional conditions and settings and reach the highest level of scientific advancement. We hope that namely the projects in medicine will help mankind to cure illnesses and diseases more effectively in the future.

What are the general objectives?
The reason for creating SoMoPro I, II and 3 programmes is not only the financial contribution obtained COFUND, which enables us to fund the fellows (as there is no such funding available on the Czech national level) - this funding enabled us to bring new and promising high quality researchers to the region, support its competetivness and also gain international recognition as MSCA funding provides a well known sign of quality. The objective was also to support the spill-out efect as the regional host institutions benefited from hosting high-quality researchers and the region itself profited from interaction between high-quality researchers and key industrial players based in the region.
"The programme was open with 2 calls that were intensively promoted. A large pool of experts was utilised to arrange for professional and unbiased evaluation of all submitted projects (Czech and Slovak evaluators were not involved) as well as a Steering Committee was formed to supervise the selection process and approve the selected applicants. The Euraxess service provided assistance to incoming researchers and their families, namely those coming from non-European countries.
Upon the start of their felloships, the incoming researchers were met by PA representatives and informed in person how the felloships should be run. The aim of these meetings was to welcome scientists, acquaint them with the requirements for administration and draw attention to possible difficulties, especially the issues of mandatory promotion and the need to meet the content of projects (or address changes in projects well in advance). This helped to run the individual projects smoothly.

Project administrator and project coordinator worked hand-in-hand to administer running projects. The fellows submitted their interim periods on regular bases, i.e. usually 12 month period. The project administrator and project coordinator checked the submitted reports and provided feedback and approved them. This continuos reporting contributed to high level of standards. In 2019 and 2020, all the projects were finished and final reports were submitted.

The programme worked well, we have had positive feedbacks from the researchers.

As Somopro is a mobility programme, the ""hard"" results, exploitation and dissemination are difficult to define. The programme namely helped to keep a high standard of research at the host institutions, it cultivated the working environment with transfer of knowledge in both directions and shared their experience through teaching at HIs; some of the researchers established a high quality teams and attracted another promissing fellows to the region.
There is a positive feature of the programme in extensive networking between ex-fellows and current fellows."
The benefits of the SoMoPro 3 programme can be seen in a number of levels:
a) individual /research level - the programme offered 18 scholarships in the region of South Moravia and enabled 18 researcher to experience the life and work in the Czech Republic. These 18 fellows were a contribution to the research infrastructure already existing in Brno/South Moravia. Similarly, through these stays they gained experience and training offered by the host institutions, feedback & enrichment from their colleagues & team members. Most of the researchers were actively involved in teaching at HI thus influencing the young generation of bachelor, master and doctoral students.
b) institutional level - the host institutions gained from the presence of fellows. In several cases, the fellows established research groups centered aroung his/her projects and generated additional funds to support such groups / research activities. Hence, the fellows brought in not only they scientific knowledge but also management skills. The publications generated throughout the life-spam of SoMoPro had positive financial impacts on the host institutions as the Czech system of financing higher education / reserach takes into account the quality and quantity of publications produced on yearly bases. Non-Czech fellows also positively influenced the environment of depatments and institutes.
c) regional level - this scheme has been designed as a regional scheme. From the project results benefited not only scientists and HI but also business and application sphere. Fellows involved in cooperation with local business establishing mutually beneficial cooperation.
d) national level - the projects formed a knowledge base that can be used for future benefit of Czech & European citizens - this is namely true for several projects dealing with medical & healt care problems (e.g. healing of Alzheimer disease or curing skin cancer).