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FELLowship for Innovation at INFN

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FELLINI (FELLowship for Innovation at INFN)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

INFN - Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics proposed FELLINI (Fellowship for Innovation at INFN) as new, high-quality fellowship programme based on a modern research and training approach, which aims at research excellence and promoting researcher mobility and training.
FELLINI combines best practice found across the EU with a number of innovative elements that shall provide all fellows with an ideal basis for their future careers, preparing them for a wide range of career options.
Within FELLINI, INFN plans to improve the 'standard fellowship programme' for incoming postdoctoral fellows. FELLINI supports 30 Fellows through a three-year appointments rather than the standard two-year terms of INFN, with a full employment contract. Also, in order to give a burst to the career of young researchers, the opportunity of a yearly secondment to an international laboratory or in the private sector, keeping their full employment contract with INFN, is provided.
In line with the European Charter of Researchers, the FELLINI programme doesn’t contain any constraint on the subject of the research projects, on the research methodology and approach, or on locations.
Fellows can choose freely their working place in any of the INFN divisions distributed all over Italy, and among a very large number of disciplines and topics where INFN has a tradition of excellence:
● Experimental Particle Physics
● Experimental Astroparticle Physics
● Experimental Nuclear Physics
● Theoretical Physics
● Applied and Interdisciplinary Physics
Moreover, Fellows can broaden their skills using the numerous training opportunities offered by the programma and through their high exposure to an interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral environment. Also, they can profit from dedicated support arrangements like mentoring, tailor-made training courses, and the opportunity to engage in outreach activities.
The first 6 months of FELLINI has been dedicated to setup the start of the project, to prepare the FELLINI web site and to the preparation of the Call for Proposals and everything needed for the evaluation procedure (in-house web portal development, selection of evaluators and administration for their appointment).
A FELLINI Programme website has been launched and it includes all the information related to the programme.
INFN has published two calls for applications, in June 2018 and April 2019, each one opened for 3 months. In total FELLINI received 210 applications in the first call and 231 in the second call, and awarded 30 fellowships to excellent candidates from renowned research institutions across the globe.
The fellowships have been awarded through a highly competitive, strictly merit-based selection process made by an international Selection Committee.
An evaluation summary report, containing detailed feedback (including scores) on the evaluation of their proposals, has been provided to all applicants within four months from the deadline for applications. The recruitment procedure started promptly. The awarded fellows have been given 10 days to accept the fellowship to be started within 6 months from the award.
The first 15 fellows started their fellows between March and December 2019. An Italian fellow, moved back to Italy for the FELLINI fellowship, resigned after three months to accept a permanent position in Italy.
For the second call, the evaluation procedure, closed in December 2019 with the approval of the final ranking list. The recruitment process of the 15 selected fellows is ongoing.
The fellowship programme has provided fellows with attractive employment contracts and research and travel budgets in line with Charter and Code for the Recruitment of Researchers.
In conformity with the principles of the Charter & Code the appointed researchers have full employment contracts, which is not usually provided to fellows in Italy, an extended duration of the fellowship, and improved recruitment method.
They could rely on competition procedures that meet transparency, research freedom, use of independent review in the selection process, clear setting of selection criteria and related rating systems.
Since the recruited fellows are still at the beginning of their projects, the FELLINI impact on enhancing career perspectives of participating researchers cannot yet been established, but it expected to be significant, thanks to the high exposure to an interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral environment, and to the planned mentoring programme, research and soft skill training courses, and engagement in outreach activities.