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Experienced Researchers Incoming Fellowship Programme at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EPFL Fellows (Experienced Researchers Incoming Fellowship Programme at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2017-06-30

EPFL Fellows aims to attract experienced researchers of any nationality to EPFL - one of the leading European institutions of science and technology - to provide them with state-of-the art conditions for research in a top-class academic environment, to develop their leadership potential and to position them for success as future research leaders through an intensive training. Fellowships may be requested in any scientific discipline and run for a period of 24 months.

EPFL Fellows has started in 2013 with the support of the EU MCA-COFUND (FP7). This proposal takes the “EPFL Fellows” programme to its next level, and open the doors of EPFL and Europe to two new cohorts of 48 promising scientists. New elements are introduced to fine-tune the programme and align it with the principles set out by the EU for human resources development in Research and Innovation:
i) the number of fellowships to be awarded is increased from 24 to 48; an appropriate increase in view of demand, of what EPFL can offer, and of the high selectivity of fellowships currently awarded,
ii) fellows are asked to show elements of interdisciplinarity and cross-sectorial mobility in their research projects and are encouraged to carry out secondments in industry or different scientific environments,
iii) employment conditions are improved by giving fellows access to Dual Career measures,
iv) fellows are expected to actively participate in outreach activities,
v) tangible measures are offered to facilitate transfer of technology to the market place through access to EPFL’s Tech Transfer Office and Innovation Square,
vi) adaptations are made in the selection procedure to align it with the MSCA IF process and to externalize the evaluation of the proposals to the fullest extent possible while ensuring that the final decision-making process is managed in-house and hence under control.
A. Dissemination
A worldwide dissemination of the fellowship programme at EPFL – to ensure a good promotion of the EPFL Fellows programme in order to recruit on a broad scale – with a focus on the quality of the recruited candidates has been put in place. Details are given in the Report on dissemination activities Call 1 submitted to EU on October 23, 2015 and in the Report on dissemination activities Call 2 submitted to EU on October 11, 2016.
The active EPFL Fellows webpage is: https://research-office.epfl.ch/EPFL-fellows

B. Management
A strong management team was set up for the EPFL Fellows project and regular meetings (1 h each week) are scheduled between the Executive Manager and the General Management.
Furthermore, upon arrival of the Fellows on Campus, a “Kick-Off” meeting (April 24, 2017) was organized for the administrative assistants of the hosting labs, in order to ensure correct implementation of the fellowships in the labs.

C. Recruitment Process

1. Applications
EPFL Fellows received 84 eligible applications for 2015 Call and 76 for 2016 Call. Applications were submitted in all EPFL Schools, as well as in the College of Management (CDM) but unfortunately not in the College of Humanities (CDH).

2. Evaluation and Selection
Details on the evaluation and selection procedure are given in the Report on evaluation and selection Call October 2015 submitted to EU on March 14, 2016 and in the Report on evaluation and selection Call October 2016 submitted to EU on March 29, 2017.
The success rate of the EPFL Fellows programme (calls 2015 to 2016) has an overall success rate of 30.5 %.

3. Ethical Clearance Process
Fellows are guided through the ethical clearance procedure of their proposal/project from the application stage until the implementation of their project. Project can only start after they receive Ethical Clearance. In some cases, e.g. when the project involves hESCs this can substantially delay the start of the fellowship.
Details on Ethical Clearance of the granted project can be found in the Report on ethical issues Call 1 submitted to EU on October 10, 2017.

4. Recruitment
All the 48 EPFL Fellows have now recruited and most of them have started their project at EPFL. The last fellows will start their project on 1 August 2017 as scheduled.
The granted projects can be found on the programme's website:
• Call Deadline October 1, 2015: http://research-office.epfl.ch/funding/internal-non-profit/epfl-fellows-marie-curie/granted-fellowships-2015
• Call Deadline October 1, 2016: https://research-office.epfl.ch/funding/internal-non-profit/epfl-fellows-marie-curie/granted-fellowships-2016

D. Training and Career Development Activities
The following activities have been ogranised for the EPFL Fellows. The attendance by fellows was optimal for all events with only a few excused fellows. Their feedback was also positive.

24.05.2016: EPFL Fellows Kick-Off meeting (1) - Call 2015
31.05.2016: Open Science
25.10.2016: Data Management bootcamp (1)
21.11.2016: EPFL Fellows Kick-Off meeting (2) - Call 2015
22.11.2016 : Data Management bootcamp (2)
16.12.2016 : H2020 Funding opportunities (1)
20.01.2017 : H2020 Funding opportunities (2)
07.02.2017 : Career & Networking event
The project is on track and is progressing as planned. We have faced no major issues and all the objectives of the programme will be met. The 48 early-stage researchers recruited as EPFL Fellows will benefit from state-of-the art conditions for research, top-class academic environment and complementary training, which will position them as future leaders in academic and non-academic sectors.