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A Programme to attract International Experienced Researchers to the Basque Country in any Research Field

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SMARTBRAIN2 (A Programme to attract International Experienced Researchers to the Basque Country in any Research Field)

Summary description of the project objectives:

The SmartBRAIN2 programme is based on a combination of incoming and reintegration of researchers of excellence (of any nationality) to reinforce the scientific excellence of the Basque system, as well as the excellence of the European Research Area through knowledge sharing on a multi-level basis and through the interaction of researchers in interdisciplinary research fields.

The Basque Country, organized in research communities closely linked through its business and social fabric, is building its research system on researchers and capacities. In this environment, that constitutes a simple, transparent and coherent system based on various public and private sources of finance (national, regional and European), transnational mobility represents an action of crucial importance for innovation and, consequently, for the need to ensure enhanced collaboration between the worlds of academic research and industry.

The Ikerbasque Foundation’s activity represents an important actor in the culmination of the mission to make the Basque Country a truly scientific–technological community, which combines human skills, infrastructures and, which opens its arms to global knowledge by establishing consortia and collaborative agreements with the most influential knowledge centres worldwide. In this sense, the importance of having international researchers coming to the Basque Country is a key aspect that is included in our programme.

Description of the work performed since the beginning of the project:

5 SmartBRAIN2 calls were launched during the first project period, one per year (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018). The applications are evaluated based on
- Scientific merit and research track
- Relevance of research topic and latest publications
- Concordance with Basque research capabilities
The main work within the project so far has involved the publication, evaluation and negotiation, and contractual procedures related with the above calls.

Description of the main results achieved so far:

During the period 01/10/2014 – 30/09/2018), 23 research professors have been recruited, from 11 different nationalities: 11 from call 2014, 4 from call 2015, 4 from call 2016 and 4 from call 2017. When presenting this report, still data from call 2018 is not available. Ikerbasque is still negotiating with some of the selected researchers and others have delayed their incorporation because of personnel reasons, and they have not been officially recruited.

Expected final results:
Ikerbasque expects to have a more positive progression and keep recruiting researchers during the incoming years, in order to improve the scientific production of the European Research Area and especially of the Basque Country.

The total number of expected researchers initially considered at the time of the presentation of the project was 41 and currently, 23 researchers have been recruited, representing the 56% of the first estimation, and 86,75 fellows/year of the initially estimated 168,75 fellows/year.

Although we are below the initial estimation, this number of top-class researchers represent a significant critical mass to generate the high impact required in the Basque Science System, and consistent to also attract the additional funds for research in the different research centres involved in the programme.