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FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme for Junior and Senior Researchers - Phase 2

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FCFP (FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme for Junior and Senior Researchers - Phase 2)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31

The Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) at the University of Freiburg is an internationally renowned university-based Institute for Advanced Studies that offers fellowship stays for excellent junior and senior researchers from around the world.
The FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme (FCFP) targets experienced researchers at both the junior and senior level and offers them fellowship stays of up to one year. The stimulating mix of junior and senior researchers is based on the idea of lifelong training and represents one of the hallmarks of the FCFP.
Over the course of the FCFP (2017-22), four yearly calls for the academic years 2018/19 to 2021/22 are issued.
The FCFP forms a central element of the Institute’s activities, with FCFP fellows making an important and integral contribution to the larger FRIAS community of fellows from Freiburg, Germany and abroad.
The FCFP is open to researchers from all disciplines and nationalities. It features an open, transparent, strictly merit-based application and multi-stage selection process and offers internationally competitive employment conditions, which attract outstanding researchers from Europe and all over the world.
At FRIAS, FCFP fellows are part of an excellent, internationally diverse community of Junior and Senior Fellows from a wide spectrum of disciplines. The opportunity to conduct research in an institute with a high reputation for its administrative professionalism and to profit from the frequent exchange within this diverse, stimulating community attracts the top-tier of internationally mobile researchers from leading institutions worldwide. In many instances, the interactions within the community of fellows lead to significant new impulses for fellows’ research. The close interaction over one academic year has the potential to foster long-term collaborations and network building.
FCFP Junior Fellows profit particularly from the research opportunities provided by FRIAS, including dedicated support arrangements like mentoring, tailor-made training courses, and the opportunity to engage in both teaching and outreach activities.
Within the first funding period of the FCFP, FRIAS has published three annual calls for applications for the academic years 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.
Applications were invited from academics of all nationalities. In total FRIAS received 129 applications (50 JFs, 79 ESFs) in the first and 128 (45 JFs, 83 ESFs) in the second call.
The fellowships are awarded through a highly competitive, strictly merit-based multi-stage selection process (success rate: 1st call - 12 %, 2nd call - 9 %) comprising the following selection steps: Eligibility check, international peer-review, final selection by the external FRIAS Scientific Advisory Board.
The determining evaluation criteria in the selection procedure are the academic excellence of both the applicant and the proposed project. The experience and capability of the applicant is also taken into account during the evaluation of the applications.
For the academic year 2018/19 the FRIAS Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) selected 31 researchers (9 JFs, 22 ESFs) for the final ranking list, 15 (4 JFs, 11 ESFs) thereof being finally selected for an FCFP fellowship.
For the academic year 2019/20 the SAB selected 27 (7 JFs, 20 ESFs) researchers for the final ranking list, 11 (3 JFs, 8 ESFs) thereof being finally selected for an FCFP fellowship.
Selected applicants are offered a prestigious External Senior or a Junior Fellowship at FRIAS. During the time of the FRIAS fellowship they also hold the status of a Marie S. Curie fellow of the European Union. Fellows receive a living allowance, a family allowance if applicable, a mobility and travel allowance, a training allowance and a research cost contribution.
FRIAS takes a comprehensive approach to providing optimal support for its fellows. Benefits include top working facilities, excellent laboratories for the experimental sciences, a very popular library service along with a dedicated fellow service to support fellows in getting settled in Freiburg. Special and individual support is given to researchers wishing to stay in Freiburg with their partner and/or children.
Fellows enjoy the opportunity of being connected with larger research projects and centers at the University of Freiburg. FRIAS organizes numerous events such as academic colloquia, conferences and workshops. FRIAS also offers events for a broader university and public audience such as the Lunch Lectures, the Staudinger Lectures by Nobel Laureates, and the Freiburger Horizonte. For the younger FCFP researchers the advantages of a research stay at FRIAS are systematically secured through a mentoring system. FRIAS offers its fellows the opportunity to present their research, or even to teach, at the faculties of the University of Freiburg. Furthermore, FRIAS and the University of Freiburg offer fellows a range of non-scientific training and skills programs.
Publications supported through this scheme testify to the academic success of the fellowship programme. All junior fellows went on to attractive academic positions in Germany, Europe or worldwide.
The feedback of the FCFP fellows has been extremely positive as the institute not only provides the standard support one can expect from a leading Institute for Advanced Studies but offers integration into a lively community of fellows, thereby offering opportunities for academic exchange and novel collaborations. Already at this point it is clear that many FCFP fellows of the 2018/19 generation will stay in touch with their (new) collaborators in Freiburg. In sum, there can be no doubt that the programme gives support to outstanding researchers, optimally supports mobility and exchange across disciplines and countries, and thereby clearly adds to the attractiveness of the European Research Area.
Until the end of the project two more selection rounds for the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22 will be conducted.
The impact of the FCFP on the European Research Area (ERA) is manifold. A concentrated period of work results in high-quality output during as well as years after the fellowship. The Marie S. Curie FCFP contributes to the overarching aims of supporting researchers at crucial points in their careers and making research careers more attractive. All FCFP fellows enhance and broaden their international research network. The nodes of these networks will connect different researchers and institutions within the ERA as well as outside the ERA and will form the basis for future long-term activities. The ERA also benefits from the additional career prospects the FCFP offers. For experienced researchers, an FCFP fellowship at FRIAS is a clear boost to their academic career.
The FCFP clearly stimulates FRIAS to further improve its efforts in communicating science to a wider audience. Various dissemination and outreach activities help to maximise the social and economic impact of research performed within the FCFP.
The FCFP continues to attract outstanding researchers from all over the world, thereby making significant contributions to world-class research, to individual researchers’ careers, and to the European Research Area in general. Furthermore, FCFP researchers become more familiar with the German and Upper Rhine research landscapes, thus enhancing their opportunities for continuing their career in the heart of Europe.
FCFP fellows within the FRIAS fellow community