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Future Leadership in ICT Standards in Europe “ELITE-S”

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ELITE-S (Future Leadership in ICT Standards in Europe “ELITE-S”)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-09-30

The ELITE-S project aims to address the needs of the ICT standards landscape by recruiting and training researchers to be leaders in this field. The programme offers specific standards training, increases their research profile through intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaborations which in turn translates into career opportunities and uptake of leading position in their field in both academic and non-academic settings.
The programme addresses the 5 EU priority areas: 5G, Internet of Things, cloud computing, cybersecurity and data technologies, these are of extreme importance in Ireland and internationally. To do this, ELITE-S will offer 16 prestigious 2-year postdoctoral fellowships for incoming mobility across two calls for proposals over the 60 months’ duration of the project. Candidates are free to choose their research topic, supervision and secondment host when applying and they must comply with the eligibility criteria.

ELITE-S is coordinated by the ADAPT Centre in Dublin City University (DCU) ensuring excellent quality in the selection of researchers, and high quality training and supervision. Selected fellows in the programme will be hosted in any of the 7 higher education institutions affiliated to the Centre and receive advanced research and transferrable skills training while collaborating with non-academic partners and other interdisciplinary projects.

Specifically, ELITE-S will:
-Provide a state of the art research environment in the area of ICT standardisation related to the programme's core research areas that will stimulate and challenge researchers while developing them as research leaders of the future
-Provide fellows with industry-specific training and secondments in priorities sectors including 5G, Internet of Things, Cloud computing, cybersecurity and data technologies
-Implement a transparent evaluation and selection process for recruitment
-Provide an attractive and supportive working environment for fellows where they are truly inte-grated into ADAPT and their academic host
This first period was marked by the organization of two calls for proposals and recruitment of Fellows for the ELITE-S programme. During the first months (M1-M5), we organized all the necessary documentation and forms for candidates to apply for the programme, and launched the programme in January 2019 (M4).
The first call was open from February (M5) to July 2019 (M10) followed by the evaluation and selection process (M10-M13) which was carried out in an open, transparent, merit-based, impartial and equitable procedure, in line with the GA and underpinned by international peer review. Candidates received timely response at every stage of the application process. At the end of the first call for proposals, 2 fellows were hired and joined the programme at the end of 2020.
The second call for proposal was organized as soon as the first call was closed and recruitment process finalized. It was carried out as in call 1, and we changed our dissemination strategy and completely revamped the website in order to attract more candidates, as well as increased our pool of supervisors and expert reviewers in the programme.
Call two took place from November /2019 (M14) to February/2020 (M17) followed by the evaluation and selection process which was finalized by June 2020 (M21). As a result of this call and the changes we’ve implemented, 7 fellowships were accepted and are now in the process of joining the programme. This is happening on a case by case basis, considering the mobility restrictions applied because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, all fellows will be in place by January 2021.
Parallel to the organization of the second call, we also organized training and development opportunities for our fellows from call 1 and ran our first summer school virtually due to social distancing measures in place and lockdown restrictions.
The progress beyond the state of the art in ELITE-S is achieved by recruiting Fellows into the programme and enhancing their set of skills to allow them to conduct high-value, highly interdisciplinary research. The expected result in this area is a cohort of 16 fellows with excellent transferrable skills training that allows then to work on their soft skill which would benefit the communication of their research results to the wider audience; acquire project management knowledge and experience in managing their own budgets, and writing competitive grant applications for future funding of their career needs.
It is also expected, at the end of the programme, that fellows will have an acute understanding of the entire ICT standards pipeline and are able to communicate its value to stakeholders. For this purpose, the ELITE-S programme will organise specific cross-disciplinary advanced research and standards skills training for its cohort of Fellows through its summer and winter schools.
Enhancing the skills of our Fellows is the first step towards enhancing their career perspective. They are expected to contribute in various domains and actively influence and lead the discussion and adoption of ICT Standards in areas related to societal challenges and sustainable growth. Each Fellows’ research project will also help address industry research problems which will be further investigated during their secondment period.
The intersectoral and interdisciplinary approach offered by the programme will expose fellows to challenges associated to business creation which will pave the way to new career opportunities in both the academic and non-academic sector. It is expected that fellows, at the end of their fellowships, take on leading positions in those sectors capable of changing and broadening the impact of ICT Standards research in Europe.