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Luxembourg EU Presidency Conference 2015 on MSCA COFUND, 10-11 December 2015

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MSCA2015 - COFUND (Luxembourg EU Presidency Conference 2015 on MSCA COFUND, 10-11 December 2015)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-01-31

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg had the Council of the EU Presidency starting on July 1st until December 31st 2015, and consequently was in charge of hosting the annual MSCA Conference in Luxembourg in December 2015. The overarching theme of the MSCA Conference, that took place in the city of Luxembourg on the 10th and 11th of December 2015, was “COFUND: Creating Synergies to fuel Researchers Careers”.

The 2015 MSCA conference on COFUND highlighted the synergies supporting and enhancing doctoral training, researchers’ career development, inter-sectoral cooperation, interdisciplinarity, international cooperation, as well as mobility, within the European Union research landscape.

The MSCA conference targeted the following audiences:
• Experts and stakeholders in the field of research funding and researchers’ careers pathways, both from public and private institutions.
• Representatives of institutions who have been actively involved as hosts under COFUND
• Researchers who have been beneficiaries from the COFUND schemes
• National contact points for COFUND
• Representatives from the European Commission as well as from Ministries of member states

A total of 150 participants from 30 countries participated in the conference. The full list of participants and the conference programme are added wtih the final report.

As demonstrated by the good practice examples in the session, COFUND achieved a multiplying effect and has changed participating institutions by helping the programmes making progress during the entire implementation process (“learning by doing”). It has had an impact on the selected researchers’ careers, as evidenced by career tracking studies and end-of-grant surveys. All the programmes have developed policies to deal with diversity and engage with the non-academic sector.

The main conference conclusions are published in the final report that will be published in April 2016 on the conference website www.msca2015.lu. It will also be sent to all participants and widely disseminated through the media and distribution lists such as Euraxess and the EU H2020 MSCA and ERC Programme Committees.
× Overall coordination and monitoring of budgets and human resources, in particular composition of the conference team, including hiring of the project leader (Karine Briand) and composition of a steering committee comprising the organisers Karine Briand and Ulrike Kohl, both FNR Luxembourg, the EU Commission Representatives Daniel Göhring and Arya-Marie Ba Trung, external experts Dr Beate Scholz (SCT Bonn Germany) and Dr Conor O'Carroll (Independent consultant and head of the Steering Group on Human Resources, Dublin, Ireland), a representative from the Luxembourg Ministry of Higher Education and Research Josiane Entringer, as well as a representative from the Luxembourg National Contact Point for MSCA Katharina Horst, Luxinnovation.

The tasks further comprised:
Planning with the event agency concerning the conference visuals and the logo
Organisation of the MSCA Award Ceremony /Gala dinner
Elaboration of the conference programme and publication on the website www.msca2015.lu
A call for programme contributions, based on predefined themes for the conference working groups, was launched internationally, targeting in particular the coordinators of COFUNDed Schemes, representatives from European research funding bodies (Science Europe, representatives of national agencies, researchers, researchers’ interest groups or associations (Eurodoc, EUA, VITAE, LERU, etc);
The selection of the conference contributions was done by the steering committee in September 2015, followed by the invitation and booking arrangements with keynote speakers.
The conference programme was finalised in October 2015 and published on the website www.msca2015.lu.
The conference logistical organisation itself was partially sub-contracted to an event agency (venues set up / catering), although registration of participants via the website and overall organisational issues (including accomodations/ social and cultural programme ) has been arranged by the FNR.
A specific part of the conference has concerned the MSCA-FNR Awards based on a call for recommendations to COFUNDed schemes that were selected under EU FP7 calls from 2008 to 2010. The selection of awardees through a selection panel assisted by remote experts was organised by the FNR. Among 19 suggested fellows for the award, 7 were preselected and 3 were finally retained for the Award, during a panel meeting on 2nd November 2015. Expert panel members were renowned scientists: Prof. Rudi Balling, LCSB Luxembourg, Prof. Susanne Siebentritt, University of Luxembourg, and Prof. Claudine Moulin, University of Trier.
The FNR was producing three films of the Award winners: Dr Julien Meyer, CNRS GIPSA Laboratory in Grenoble, France, Dr. Aiden Doherty, University of Oxford, and Prof. David Hoey, Trinity College Dublin (for details concerning the awardees, see msca2015.lu/awardees ). The Awards ceremony was organised by the FNR while the logistical organisation of the ceremony was sub-contracted to the event agency Shine-A-Light.
Impacts were twofold:
- At the level of the content of the conference, i.e. the MSCA COFUND scheme: input for the future orientation of the scheme
- At the level of the communication: promotion of the achievements of the MSCA and wide dissemination and outreach of the conference results.

The high number of participants from abroad, with a total of 130 participants from 30 countries, demonstrated the wide interest in the conference subject.

The dissemination and outreach was mainly achieved through the presence of the conference keynote speakers in the media (http://msca2015.lu/media/) and the conference communiqué widely disseminated concerning the awardees and the produced films about their MSCA projects and achievements (see msca2015.lu/press-release).

Moreover, the conference results, including the input received for the future orientation of the COFUND scheme, are summarised in the final report available on the conference webstie www.msca2015.lu in April 2016.
MSCA 2015 Conference Logo