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Programme for Post-Doctoral Talent Attraction to CEI UAM+CSIC

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InterTalentum (Programme for Post-Doctoral Talent Attraction to CEI UAM+CSIC)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2021-05-31

The Programme for Post-Doctoral Talent Attraction to the International Excellence Campus (CEI) UAM+CSIC, InterTalentum, was designed and implemented by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), with the aim of building particularly favourable environment to attract the best experienced researchers in the four Focus Research Areas of CEI UAM+CSIC: Biology and Biomedicine, Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, Theoretical Physics and Mathematics and Social Sciences, Legal Sciences and Humanities. The InterTalentum Fellows have been offered the opportinuty to stengthen their research curricula by adding hands-on experience in some of the most important topics of modern scientific interest, and has provided the region of Madrid with a pool of researchers capable of
preserving the long standing tradition for scientific excellence and help bridging the gap between academic and applied research.

During its 60 months of existence and with its two Calls for Proposals, the InterTalentum Programm has offered trans-national mobility possibilities for training and career development of experienced researchers, through the offering of incoming fellowships. In this way, it has contributed to boost the up fragmented incorporation of experienced international researchers to the CEI UAM+CSIC area of influence (Madrid Region), enabling the attraction of 18 experienced researchers. The selection of fellows was an open and merit-based competition process inspired on international peer-review procedures. The implementation of such open competition procedures for the recruiting of researches and academics is also an important example for our research environment.

To conclude, the InterTalentum Programme has been active and functioning during the allowed time, having issued two different Call for Proposals and recruiting 19 Fellows that were hired by our university for a maximum of two years (20 months on the average). All these Fellows were incorporated into different research groups of UAM, received specific scientific training and produced a wealth of scientific knowledge that helped them to progress in their scientific paths. The COVID-19 pandemics situation has somewhat affected some of the activities prepared for the Fellows, but it has not perturbed the progress of the Programme in any significant way. We thus believe that the InterTalentum Project has reached its main goals and collected the most important impact for the Fellows, for the UAM+CSIC Excellence Campus, for the region of Madrid and for the European Society at large.
Within the InterTalentum Programme, we have organized two calls for proposals in 2016 and 2018, recruiting 19 fellows (one more than we initially planned). The success rate (ratio between selected candidates to eligible applications) was of 13.6% in the 1st call and 9.6% in the 2nd call, demonstrating the highly competitive nature of our Programme, and underlining the quality of the selected Fellows. Moreover, the large number of applications is the result of a rather intensive set of dissemination activities, among which we would like to undrline the following:

• Creation of a Programme website, incorporating apps for the online proposal submissions.
• A media campaign to promote our Programme, including radio interviews, press reviews and articles.
• Printed resources (posters and diptychs) were designed, realized and distributed in different venues.
• The Programme was amply distributed in our Social Networks (Facebook, Tweeter, LinkedIn).
• Our efforts to disseminate the information of our proposal can be gauged by the number of pages found by Google after a search for InterTalentum. Over 1.600 hits are found, many of which have been posted by non-national institutions all over Europe and abroad.

Thanks to our dissemination efforts, we received a total of 170 proposals for 19 offered positions with the two Call for Proposals, implying an overall sucess ratio of 11.2%, in line with some of the most competitive postdoctoral programmes around the world. While this relatively low ratio implies a good success in our capability to attract talent to our campus and in our dissemination strategy, it also created some difficulties to ensure a quick and fair selection process. In order to ensure that this process was fair, we designed and implemented a selection procedure consisting of the following points:

• The general scheme of the evaluation process involved two evaluation stages: In the first one, the proposal was sent to three external referees, that were chosen specifically for each proposal. In total, 535 reports were collected between the 1st and the 2nd call, all of which were anonymized and sent to the applicants.
• With the external Referee reports of each proposal, a short list of applicants was published. About 80% of the proposals were rejected in the first stage.
• In the second stage of the proposal evaluation, an external scientific committee, the so-called Scientific Advisory Board or SAB, took the leading role by interviewing all the candidates online and meeting in Madrid once per call to reach the final decision on the candidates chosen to become InterTalentum Fellows.
This action has brought to our campus 19 young scientists at the postdoctoral level, provided them with hands-on experience in topics of great current scientific interest, thereby boosting their career prospects which, in some cases, has already been promoted to seniority and stability. These career prospects might take place at UAM, thereby strengthening our human capital, or elsewhere, tightening out network of contacts and reinforcing the position of UAM in the European and world arena. We thus believe that the objectives have been achieved and the positive impact of our project has been felt by the Fellows, by our CSIC+UAM Campus of Excellence and the research community from the region of Madrid as a whole. These achievements are further gauged by the following observations:
• The excellence of the candidates, along with the role of this programme to improve their research profiles, is supported by the career promotions that many of them have enjoyed after their time under InterTalentum. About 85% of them have continued their research in different institutions worldwide, some of them top scientific hubs, such as Imperial College in London, the University of Alabama or the University of Jyväskylä, and 42% of them are still hired at the UAM campus. Three (16%) of the InterTalentum fellows from the first call have moved towards seniority, either through professorship or tenior-track positions at different universities. Notice that, according to data from 2018, about 15% of the postdoctoral researchers in the US could expect to have a seniority position at academia, and the position offers have fallen by about 70% ever since. Moreover, it is still too early to know how many of the Fellows from the second call can still be getting seniority positions in the near future. We are thus convinced that our InterTalentum Programme has been a very important platform for the Fellows to progress in their carriers.
• Our InterTalentum Fellows have published a large number of publications (46 so far) and their large numbers of citations (450 since 2018) demonstrate that the Programme has been successful in bringing top young scientist to the UAM+CSIC Campus of Excellence.
The InterTalentum Programme