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Innovative doctoral programme for talented early-stage researchers in Spanish host organisations excellent in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INPhINIT (Innovative doctoral programme for talented early-stage researchers in Spanish host organisations excellent in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2018-09-30

"INPhINIT is a doctoral fellowship programme devoted to attracting international Early-Stage Researchers to the top Spanish research centres in the areas of Bio and Health Sciences, Physics, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM disciplines). INPhINIT is promoted by ""la Caixa"" Banking Foundation (FBLC) with the aim of supporting the best scientific talent and fostering innovative and high-quality research in Spain and Europe by recruiting outstanding international students and offering them an attractive and competitive environment for conducting research of excellence. INPhINIT targets the most motivated PhD candidates by addressing the STEM research areas in which Spain excels. The programme awarded 114 fellowships in 2 calls for applications. Selected researchers are enjoying a 3-year employment contract with the host organisation of their choice, with the corresponding social security provisions.

FBLC is a Spanish non-profit organisation whose mission is to contribute towards the progress of people and society. Its main lines of action are to provide opportunities for the most vulnerable groups; to support progress through educational, scientific and cultural activities; to contribute towards greater understanding and improvement of the environment; to promote research in the fields of life sciences, healthcare, social sciences and humanities; and to foster the dissemination of science and technology.

Since 1982, FBLC has offered its fellowships programmes—through which more than 4,700 talented young people have received fellowships to take up postgraduate studies or begin their research careers in Spain and abroad. FBLC fellowship programmes enjoy great recognition thanks to their prestige, to the reliability and rigour of the selection processes, to the fellows’ excellent academic level and the impact that the fellowship has on their future academic or professional careers.

The INPhINIT programme was selected in the 2015 COFUND call and and has a duration of 60 months. FBLC acts as funding organisation and directly manages the selection process for each annual call, while the participating host organisations (certified as excellent by Spanish nation¬al research systems) recruit, host and provide scientific training for the selected fellows. In addition to the interdisciplinary training activities offered by the host organisation, the INPhINIT programme sets up a comprehensive complementary skills training scheme that includes sessions on:

•Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship, aimed at familiarising fellows with issues such as intellectual property, licensing and spin-outs, entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer;
•Professional and Career Development, where fellows will consider their supervisory relationship, the importance of their professional development, self-management and planning.

Three sessions will be held: at the start of the fellowship, during the second year, and during the third year and each session will last between 3 and 5 days."
The project started on October 1st 2016 and will end on September 30th 2021.It is divided into 2 calls that FBLC launched respectively in November 2016 and November 2017. In each call 57 doctoral fellowships were awarded (for a total of 114 fellows selected) by means of an open, transparent and merit-based three-stages selection process.

Both calls were internationally disseminated following a Communication and Dissemination Plan designed and tailored for different target groups. This plan envisaged a series of actions, including the creation of the programme website, logo, slogan, promotional videos and templates for official documents. Besides, the organisation of infodays and participation to specific events were other elements of the plan, together with targeted advertising on scientific journals, portals and social media, mailing to the scientific and academic community through different distribution lists, including the network of FBLC alumni, FBLC evaluators database and participating host organisations. Concretely, the host organisations were provided with the INPhINIT dissemination kit so that they acted themselves as multipliers of the information of the calls. In addition, each call were published on the Euraxess website, as requested in the GA.

An excellent and rigorous evaluation and selection process is the core of INPhINIT. The programme in its entirety is managed by observing the principles of Excellence, Openness, Transparency, Fairness, Efficiency and speed, Confidentiality, Ethics and security. FBLC managed both selection processes that aimed at selecting the 114 best early-stage researchers in the STEM areas. Experts were chosen from a database that FBLC has built over the years, and that contains more than 2,000 profiles of external and independent experts of different disciplines, expertise, sectors and origin, many of them H2020 evaluators. This database is a dynamic instrument, key to guarantee the excellence of the selection process. The selected 114 researchers established a personal development career plan including transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility opportunities.

During the first reporting period, the first induction workshop of INPhINIT complementary training programme took place for the first call fellows in Girona, Spain. They had the opportunity to improve their transferrable skills and to acquire basic knowledge on intellectual property rights, licenses and spinouts and the commercialisation of research results. Furthermore, fellows participated in networking, team building and cultural activities that gave them the opportunity to develop strong bonds among them that may be the seed for future collaborations.

In terms of scientific publications, INPhINIT fellows already published 18 articles and papers in recognised journals. Furthermore, they participated in more than 200 international events among conferences, seminars and workshops and organised around 30 public engagement and outreach activities.
The INPhINIT programme aims at generating a broad impact at different levels:

• For INPhINIT researchers
> Boosting their employability, offering them attractive employment and working conditions for researchers, a complementary training programme and collaboration and networking opportunities that will enhance their international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral dimension;
> Enriching their scientific and complementary training options;
> Enlarging the quality and scope of their network of collaborations.

• For Host organisations
> Allwing them to hire the most talented ESR willing to pursue a PhD in Spain;
> Expanding their international exposure;
> Promoting a permanent Innovative Doctoral Training framework.

• For Europe
> Expanding the network of collaborations among top centres and researchers;
> Contributing to translate the triple “i” dimension from the strictly doctoral studies to the development of excellent researchers in the industry or the academia.
> Fostering researchers mobility to and within Europe.

• For the Society as a whole
> Giving a proper recognition among society to a researcher’s career, promoting the importance of science and research for the welfare of the community;
> Triggering similar practices from the private sector;
> Promoting technology transfer and supporting researchers to become “entrepreneurial researchers”.