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Beatriu de Pinos-3 Postdoctoral Programme

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BP3 (Beatriu de Pinos-3 Postdoctoral Programme)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-08-31

The Beatriu de Pinós programme (BP) is an international postdoctoral mobility programme run by the Government of Catalonia since 2005. The Beatriu de Pinós – 3 Project (BP3) is a 60 months project that aims to support personal and professional career development of postdoctoral researchers by enabling them the opportunity to train and conduct an independent research career in a Catalan institution for a period of 36 months. BP3 is addressed to boost career perspectives of researchers from a three-dimensional perspective: leadership, independence and consolidation.

The BP Programme is open to all researchers, regardless of their nationality, and has a bottom-up approach both for fundamental and more applied research. Researchers freely choose a research topic and a research institution according to their individual career development needs. The selection of the fellows is merit-based, founded on peer review in an open and transparent selection procedure. Besides the scientific research training, researchers also receive additional training in transversal skills. Researchers must have between two and seven years of postdoctoral experience and must fulfil the MSCA mobility rule. Exceptions to this rule for candidates with any leave of absence in the research career for reasons such as parental leave, sick, family care leave, military services or refugees scientist are included.

The main objectives of the BP3 project are listed below:
1. Enable the transition towards a consolidated research career attracting 120 of junior postdoctoral researchers over 5 years, multiplying their skills sets and networks via targeted Career Development Plans and mentoring.
2. Improve the quality of postdoctoral research training, more targeted to the researchers and societal needs.
3. Enhance cooperation and knowledge transfer between sectors and disciplines.
4. Enable outstanding junior researchers from all nationalities to develop their research careers to an advanced and more independent level in a leading research group or institution in Catalonia.
5. Increase the competitiveness of the Catalan scientific community and, by extension, the European one.

The BP programme is managed by the Agency for Management of Universities and Research Grants (AGAUR), a public funding body which supports the Secretariat of Universities and Research, currently under the Ministry of Business and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia. AGAUR supports the Government in university and scientific policy, based on competitiveness in R&D with excellence at the core, by funding people and capacity building.
The main tasks executed from the beginning of the project (1st of September of 2018):
- Two Beatriu de Pinós calls (BP 2018 and BP 2019) have been published. The information was broadly disseminated through press releases, publications on websites, newsletters, social networks, international job portals, email distribution lists, international conferences and infodays. We received an overall of 561 applications in the two calls.
- The evaluation process of both calls has been successfully completed, with the participation of experts with international recognition. The results of 2018 call were published on September 19, 2019, and 58 fellows have already joined their host institutions. The results of 2019 call were published on September 16, 2020. Gran agreement negotiation have already started.
- The assessment of ethical issues for the research projects of 2018 fellows has been successfully completed.
- A welcome session for 2018 fellows was held on June 2020. Several informative documents for fellows and host groups have been created: a Communication and Dissemination Guide, the short guide 'Manage your BP Grant', the 'Good practices in research' document addressed to host groups, Guidelines for secondments procedures and collaboration opportunities, among others..
- AGAUR has created a website for the Beatriu de Pinós programme with a new visual identity. AGAUR has set up several actions to support the communication and outreach activities of the fellows, such as the organisation of outreach activities specific for BP fellows, the launch of an outreach blog, the promotion of regional events to encourage the participation of fellows and several actions through social networks.
- AGAUR has defined a training plan for fellows, to provide them transversal skills according to BP3 project priorities and objectives. The Beatriu de Pinós team has also created the guidelines for secondments and has started an initiative to promote secondments in public administration entities.
The BP3 project will help to enhance the potential and future career perspectives of selected researchers through three main actions: offering high-quality training in transversal skills, fostering interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral collaborations, and promoting communication and dissemination activities. The third year of fellowship added thanks to BP3 project (previously, BP fellows were funded for 2 years) helps to improve the quality of scientific output of research projects, and so brings more opportunities towards consolidation and independent research careers. On the other hand, secondments and inter-sectoral collaborations widen career perspectives outside academia (towards industry, the social sector or public administration). This expected impact will be monitored through fellows’ career development plans, scientific results (publications, presentations in conferences, etc.), initiatives in IPR or entrepreneurship (patents, collaborations with industry, start-ups, etc.), feedback by BP fellows (surveys, focus groups, etc.), reports delivered by fellows and a survey on career tracking 2 years after the BP.

The BP3 project aligns practices of participating organisations with the human resources principles set by the EU. The Beatriu de Pinós programme has a significant regional impact in Catalonia, as fellows from 2018 call have been recruited by 31 different host institutions, and proposed fellows from 2019 call will join 26 different host institutions, which have been awarded with the ‘HR excellence seal’ for aligning their HRS4R with the Charter and Code AGAUR acts further, as a multiplier agent of the principles set out by the EU on career development, quality of training, scientific mentoring, Open Science and researchers’ working conditions, among others.

To increase the social impact of research, communication of project results to a wider audience is promoted through social networks and the new outreach blog on the BP website. In addition, a new programme “RecerConnecta” for BP fellows have been created to allow fellows to give talks in high schools to explain their research and foster interest in science among teenagers. This programme also includes a short training workshop to improve their communication skills for non-specialized audience.