Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - FRICON (Marie Curie cofunding of the FRICON mobility programme in the Research Council of Norway scheme for independent basic research projects)

The FRICON (FRIPRO mobility grant) programme focuses on outgoing mobility with a return phase. It is an independent mobility and career programme under the umbrella of the Norwegian national scheme for independent basic research projects, FRIPRO . It is managed by the Research Council of Norway (RCN). The programme targets accomplished younger researchers of all nationalities that have been awarded their PhD 0 + max. 6 years before the call deadline. FRIPRO Mobility Grant is strongly influenced of the MSCA Individual Fellowships and a good example of how to create synergy between national and EU funding schemes.

The proposers are free to choose topic and host institution in order to secure the best career options. The selected fellows will spend two years abroad at an acknowledged institution, followed by a one-year return phase at a Norwegian research institution. The fellows are employed by the return-host during the whole fellowship period. This ensures the benefits of the Norwegian social security system, including pension rights.
At the end of the project period, FRICON will have had three calls with deadlines in 2014, 2015 and 2016.Each call will have awarded 14 fellowships. At present time (May 2016), two calls have been finalized and the last call is open with a deadline for applications May 25th 2016.

After receiving 43 applications for the first call, the number of applications doubled in the second call with 89 applications. It is expected that this number will increase further for the third and last call. Among the 132 applications, 59 has been in the field of Social Sciences and humanities (SH), 44 in Life Sciences (LS) and 29 in Physical Science and Engineering (PE).
Selected fellows of the first two calls
So far 28 fellows have been selected, 8 of these from the SH domain, 13 from LS and 7 from PE.
The average age of the grantees is 32.7 years at the time of the call deadline. The average time since PhD at the call deadline was 1.5 years. This number does not include the seven fellows that had not finished their PhD degree at the time of applying. According to the FRIPRO rules these fellows are eligible for the grant provided they are handing in their PhD thesis within 1. November in the year of the application deadline.

Gender balance:
One concern at the start of the programme was that fewer women than men would find the programme attractive. This has not been the case. So far 51 % of the applications have been from women. Moreover, female applicants have been more successful than male applicants. With an almost equal number of applications from both genders, 68 % (19 out of 28) of the fellowships granted so far has been to females. The highest share of selected female fellows is in the field of SH (75 %, 6 out of 8), followed by LS (69 %, 9 out of 13 ) while the gender balance in number of selected fellows in the PE domain are almost equal (57 % female fellows, 4 out of 7).
All fellows receive a mobility allowance. This mobility allowance is differentiated depending on whether the fellow is travelling with family or not. So far, about 50 % (15 out of 28) of the selected fellows are travelling with family and there is no difference between female and male fellows in this respect.

Nationality of selected fellows
A low level of outward mobility for Norwegian researchers, as recently reported by an evaluation of the Research Council of Norway, motivated the establishment of the mobility programme. Even so, the programme has been open from applicants of all nationalities as long as they comply with the established eligibility rules. The results so far show that 9 out of 28 (32 %) successful applicants are non-Norwegians. Looking more closely at the nine selected fellows that were not Norwegian nationals, seven of them had taken either their master- and/or PhD degree in Norway. These results indicate that the program so far has been successful in selecting the candidates in an open manner, but still fulfilling its expressed goal, increasing mobility of Norwegian increasing outward mobility from Norwegian institutions.

Countries visited by selected fellows
The USA is the most popular choice for outgoing host country, followed by the UK. This is perhaps not surprising since there are strong research ties between Norway and these countries, and they have many strong research institutions. Three other fellows will be visiting other Nordic countries; seven in other EU countries (not included the UK or Nordic countries). The last of the selected fellows will visit Australia.

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Life Sciences
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