Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - AGREENSKILLSPLUS (AgreenSkills+)

AgreenSkills Plus (AgreenSkills+) is an international postdoctoral fellowship programme designed to promote international mobility of postdoctoral researchers who wish to carry out research projects in the fields of life and environmental sciences.

The programme is coordinated by INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, in collaboration with Agreenium-IAVFF, the French Agricultural, Veterinary and Forestry Institute, to the benefit of all the Agreenium members. The consortium has expanded its perimeter in 2015 from 8 initial organisations to more than 17 organisations performing applied and/or basic research in the fields of agriculture, environment, food and nutrition and animal health. It includes more than 300 research units and 900 research teams that could host AgreenSkills+ mobility projects.

Like its predecessor AgreenSkills, the AgreenSkills+ programme welcomes applications for fellowships from young researchers with up to seven years’ postdoctoral experience. However AgreenSkills+ has an expanded scope having also incorporated a further category of independent researchers with 7 to 10 years’ postdoctoral experience. These two categories are aligned with the structure proposed by the European Science Foundation (ESF), in particular with stages II and III, of a European research career according to the ESF.

Two types of fellowships are offered:
1) Incoming fellowships for researchers coming from all countries who apply to undertake a research project in a laboratory of one of Agreenium-IAVFF’s members in France during a mobility period of 12 to 36 months;
2) Outgoing fellowships for researchers employed by one of Agreenium-IAVFF’s consortium members, who wish to work in a university/research institution outside.

From the beginning of the programme in May 2014, AgreenSkills+ has held 4 standard bi-annual selection rounds and 2 short-cycle selection rounds, which had led to the selection of total of 42 fellows (30 incoming and 12 outgoing). AgreenSkills+ strongly focuses on the quality of fellowships and seeks to offer networking opportunities and career prospects to fellows. Hosting campuses and labs members of Agreenium-IAVFF commit to providing every fellow all necessary means to ensure their integration and the implementation of their research project in the receiving lab. Each fellow has a scientific mentor all upon throughout the research project. Also, fellows are assigned an HR mentor at the hosting laboratory in order to facilitate any non-research training needed by the fellow. Fellows are encouraged to participate in relevant lab activities and seminars as well as scientific events in addition to the annual meetings and thematic research workshops organised within the programme.

At the 2nd selection round in 2015, the programme has already achieved around 40% of its final objective (in terms of granted person-years), 42.6% for incoming fellowships and 33% outgoing fellowships, thanks to the momentum generated by the AgreenSkills programme. Moreover, the programme has already contributed to the internationalization of scientific practices and cross-pollination between different cultures and scientific communities around the topics researched by the Agreenium-IAVFF members. An increased added-value has been observed, both to the fellows and to the pool of hosting institutions.

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