Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 2 - BREMEN TRAC (COFUND Fellowships for Transnational Academic Careers)

Starting in February 2013 with the set up of the web portal, offering detailed information on the selection process, criteria and timeline, etc. the BREMEN TRAC – COFUND Fellowships for TRansnational Academic Careers’ programme enables incoming researchers to conduct an independent research project in a highly competitive and vibrant research landscape. With no thematic restrictions, research topics and hosting institutes at the University of Bremen could be freely chosen. BREMEN TRAC explicitly targeted excellent researchers residing outside Germany and offered two-year fellowships with a standard salary and an additional research allowance to early stage postdocs ( ).
The BREMEN TRAC Programme runs for an overall period of 60 months, with each individual fellowship lasting 24 months and a total of 18 postdocs being awarded within calls in three consecutive years (2013-2015).
The BREMEN TRAC selection process was highly competitive and based on an internal quality assessment by experts from the university’s faculties serving on standing funding committees ( ), followed by independent international peer reviews and video interviews. Conflicts of interest were routinely checked in a procedure relying on the elaborate rules for determining such conflicts set out by the German Research Foundation.
In order to ensure that fellow projects fruitfully link up with the chosen research area at the University of Bremen, all fellows are linked to a host professor at the University of Bremen. This also ensures the integration into established research groups and the provision of all necessary infrastructures in the respective institutes.
All applicants for the TRAC programme got strong support throughout the whole application process. Necessary informations were provided at the website, and all applications had to be submitted online. Experienced personnel stood by to answer any questions coming up via the project specific email account ( and ensured fast reaction also in case of illness or vacation.
As the BREMEN TRAC programme follows the bottom-up approach, some of the submitted projects contained ethically sensitive issues. All proposals containing sensitive ethics issues (as specified in the ethics issue table), were reviewed by the standing ethics committee of the University of Bremen in accordance with a code of procedure established in 2003 (
Immediately after the funding decision, the University’s Welcome Centre contacted all researchers from abroad offering a wide range of services to help non-nationals settle in (
Being in Bremen, TRAC fellows avail themselves a broad range of career support measures within the University ( They greatly benefit from being integrated in a dense interdisciplinary research network with the University of Bremen at its center, offering stimulating research to connect to.
Templates for fellows’ progress reports have been made available ( There was a short initial report only a month after taking up work to secure an optimal start, an interim feedback report after one year and a final report one month after the fellowship has ended. All reports are collected in due time and assessed, whether there is a need for further action. Out of 70 eligible applications, 18 have been awarded and their projects are published on our website (

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