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EMPAPOSTDOCS-II MSCA COFUND International, interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral PostDoc Fellowship Programme at Empa

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EMPAPOSTDOCS-II (EMPAPOSTDOCS-II MSCA COFUND International, interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral PostDoc Fellowship Programme at Empa)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2019-04-30

The European Reseach Area needs to increase brain circulation and attract and train researchers to increase the R&I capacity of Europe by highly trained researchers. One challenge in particular is rendering researchers on a postdoctoral level 'fit' for a career not only in an academic setting, but also for a career in a non-academic setting, e.g. in industry. A postdoctoral fellowship at Empa with it’s five research focal areas of societal importance (nanostructured materials; sustainable built environment, health and performance, natural resources and pollution, energy) and the close co-operation of Empa with its industry partners contribute to a) an increase of Europe’s R&I capacity; b) equip researchers at a crucial stage of their career with sig-nificant networking and career advancing opportunities, and c) advances the research state of the art in fields which are in line with Horizon2020’s goals and objec-tives. Additionally, Empa’s internal processes and synergies with partner institutions such as the Paul-Scherrer-institut contribute to an increase of expertise and networking in the Swiss scientific landscape.

The overall objectives of Empapostdocs-II are:
Recruitment and training of 50 fellows over 3 calls
Enhancing fellow’s scientific experience
Acquisation of life-long skills to make them ‘contributing players’ of the research community
Carrying out cutting-edge research at intersection of academia and industry
We reached all the milestones and the deliverables indicated in the grant agreement in their due time without deviations.
We carried out two calls for applications: the first call from June 1st to August 31st 2017; the second call from June 1st to August 31st 2018. For both calls we re-ceived an adequate number of eligible submissions.
Call 1 statistics:
Submitted applications: 38
Eligible/ineligible: 38/0
Withdrawn before evaluation: 1
Total of remotely evaluation proposals 37
Interviewed candidates (above the grade of 4.0) 27
Withdrawn during interview phase 1
Offered fellowships 20

Call 2 statistics:
Submitted applications Call 2 35
Eligible/Ineligible 35/0
Withdrawn before written evaluation 1
Total of remotely evaluation proposals 34
Interviewed candidates (above the grad of 4.0) 27
Withdrawn during interview phase 1
Offered fellowships 20

The evaluation processes for both calls was carried out according to the time schedule in the grant agreement and led to the establishmend of the ranking lists and the subsequent 20 Fellowships for each of the two calls.
We offered a number of additional Research and transferable skills Trainings and the Analysis of fellows' Career plans after one year Shows satisfactory results for their Progress.
The analysis of the fellows’ mid-term reports has shown that all fellows have reached their set project goals so far. The overall feedback from fellows and their mentors regarding the fellowship programme in general and regarding the individual project’s progress is very good. A number of fellows have achieved additional Merits as well, e.g. Awards at poster sessions etc.

Expected results until the end of the project
The fellows of the first cohort will finish their fellowships in the first quarter of 2020. The fellows of the second cohort will finish their fellowships in the first quarter of 2021. We expect the third call to open on June 1st 2019 with a deadline on August 30th. The evaluation and selection period will take place until mid December and the fellows will have time until December 23rd to accept the offered fellowships. We expect the fellowships of the third cohort to begin in the first quarter of 2020, with a duration until 2022. We are thus confident to fulfill the grant agreement’s obligations of offering 50 fellowships with a duration of 24 months, and we will continue to offer a wide range of postdoctoral career training and networking possibilities.

The expected Impact will be measurable in a number of high Level publications and patents, additional Networks and highly trained cohorts of future Research Leaders.
EMPAPOSTDOCS-II Fellow retreat autumn 2018 with PSI-Fellows