Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - FCFP (FCFP FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme)

The University of Freiburg, one of the strongest research-led universities in Germany and member of LERU (the League of European Research Universities), offers the Marie Sklodowska Curie “FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme (FCFP)”. About 20 incoming or reintegration fellows per year (juniors and seniors) from all disciplines are given the opportunity of spending three to twelve months working on their own research project at the university’s research college, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). The university welcomes top researchers from abroad to give their input to its scholarly community, both in terms of research expertise and benefitting the university’s vibrant research culture and diversity.
Since its inauguration in 2008, more than 450 fellows have stayed at FRIAS. The Institute supports internationally outstanding researchers with academically excellent and innovative research projects through individual or group fellowships. FRIAS unites research in the humanities and social sciences, the natural and life sciences, engineering and medicine. It is the philosophy of FRIAS to support the career development of its fellows by integrating them into ambitious research communities here in Freiburg, as well as by supporting the international network of FRIAS fellows and alumni.
The Marie S. Curie FCFP contributes to the overarching aims of supporting researchers at crucial points in their careers and making research careers more attractive. For the fellows, the programme offers outstanding research opportunities, not only in the research environment of an internationally highly competitive university, but also with the added advantage of being part of a community of fellows from different disciplines at FRIAS. They are free to pursue their own research projects and are given the means to really push forward with their ideas. Furthermore, they receive support for research mobility and become more familiar with the German and Upper Rhine research landscapes (encompassing parts of France, Germany Switzerland), thus enhancing their opportunities for continuing their career in the heart of Europe.
Offering fellowships with a focus on the needs of individual researchers, their individual mobility strategies and their personal research projects is an important support to building scientific networks. Fellowship stays of up to a year are the ideal instrument for building relationships of trust between like-minded researchers. Relationships of trust can form the basis for future collaborations and thus help to form ever more and closer links for cooperation and exchange.
The FCFP comprises one scheme directed at junior researchers (junior fellows, JF, completed PhD plus one to six years post-doctoral experience) and one scheme directed at senior researchers (external senior fellows, ESF, completed PhD plus a minimum of six years post-doctoral experience or a tenured professorship or equivalent permanent position). In general, the senior scheme supports fellowships of three to ten months duration. In the junior scheme, researchers may apply for fellowships of twelve months.
FRIAS is committed to supporting junior researchers at a critical step in their career through a fellowship. However, one of the preconditions for the success in this respect is a diverse community of excellent fellows, including established and internationally renowned senior researchers from all over the world.
Within the funding period of the FCFP, FRIAS plans to publish four annual calls for applications for the academic years 2014/15 until 2017/18. Since the beginning of the programme in November 2013, three calls have been published nationally and internationally via online announcements, mailing lists as well as information of partner institutions, networks, multipliers, etc. and leaflets. Details on the programme, eligibility requirements and application procedure with the link to the application portal, the selection procedure, financial aspects, ethical issues, a contact address and FAQs are provided at the FCFP website at:
Applications are invited from academics of all nationalities. In total FRIAS received 303 (169 JFs, 134 ESF) applications in the first, 130 (67 JFs, 63 ESF) in the second and 152 (80 JFs, 72 ESF) in the third call.
The fellowships are awarded through a highly competitive, strictly merit-based multi-stage selection process (success rate: 1st call - 6 %, 2nd call - 12 %) comprising the following selection steps:
1. Basic formal eligibility check
2. International peer-review of eligible applications
3. Information gathering concerning suitable support
4. Formal selection by the international Scientific Advisory Board
The determining selection criteria in the selection procedure are the academic excellence of both the applicant and the project proposal. A personal qualification with regard to international expertise, leadership skills and interdisciplinary interest is also taken into account during the evaluation of the applications. A thematic proximity between the project and the research profile of the University of Freiburg is expected to guarantee an added value for conducting research within the FCFP.
For the academic year 2014/15 the FRIAS Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) selected 41 researchers (14 JFs, 27 ESFs) for the final ranking list, 19 (6 JFs, 13 ESFs) thereof being finally selected for an FCFP fellowship. Three senior researchers cancelled the FCFP fellowship for professional or private reasons in the course of the academic year.
For the academic year 2015/16 the SAB selected 29 (12 JFs, 17 ESFs) researchers for the final ranking list, 16 (4 JFs, 12 ESFs) thereof being finally selected for an FCFP fellowship.
Selected applicants are offered an External Senior or a Junior Fellowship at FRIAS with all the corresponding rights and obligations for the duration of the fellowship. During the time of the FRIAS fellowship they also hold the status of a Marie S. Curie fellow of the European Union.
Fellows receive a living allowance, mobility allowance and a research cost contribution.
The Institute provides its fellows with modern office space and an up-to-date infrastructure. Accommodation is available through the university guest house and additional centrally located apartments. Fellows have full access to all library services from one of the leading German university libraries. Special attention is drawn to supporting fellows who plan to come to Freiburg together with their families.
Fellows enjoy the opportunity of being connected with larger research projects and centers at the University of Freiburg, as well as to the FRIAS research focus. To support the networking of the FCFP fellows with the other FRIAS fellows, FRIAS organizes numerous events such as academic colloquia, conferences and workshops, dinner speeches, and after hours conversations. Beyond these mostly academic events FRIAS offers also events for a more public audience such as the lunch lectures, the Staudinger Lectures by Nobel Laureates, and the Freiburger Horizonte.
For the younger researchers in the Marie S. Curie FCFP junior scheme the advantages of a research stay at FRIAS are systematically secured through a mentoring system: researchers in post-doctoral career phases are paired with senior Freiburg-based researchers. FRIAS offers its fellows the opportunity to present their research, or even to teach, at the faculties of the University of Freiburg. This is of special importance for the qualifications profile of young researchers. Furthermore, FRIAS and the University of Freiburg offer fellows a range of non-scientific training and skills programs.
The programme has been implemented successfully and has right from the start attracted applications from very strong researchers from many different disciplines both from within and outside Europe. Publications supported through this scheme, monographs and articles in high-ranking journals, testify to the academic success of the fellowship programme. Though only one cohort of fellows has finished its fellowships, career results are already very promising. All junior fellows went on to attractive academic positions in Germany, Europe or Asia, with the appointment of two juniors to prestigious assistant professorship positions at Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea and University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong sticking out. The feed-back of our FCFP-fellows has been extremely positive as the institute not only looks for the standard support but offers integration into a lively community of fellows, thereby offering opportunities for academic exchange and novel collaborations. Several co-operations with Freiburg faculty members have developed and are being followed up by former FCFP-fellows. In sum, there can be no doubt that the programme gives support to outstanding researchers, optimally supports mobility and exchange across disciplines and countries and thereby clearly adds to the attractiveness of the European Research Area.

Contact details for the FCFP:
Dr. Carsten Dose
FRIAS Managing Director

Dr. Katrin Brandt
FCFP Coordinator

FCFP website at:
The next call for applications within the FCFP for the academic year 2017/18 will be published in July 2016.

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