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International Fellowship Program on Materials & Matter, Energy & Environment, Human Health & Life-Sciences, and Accelerator Technology

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Swiss boost for European research

The European Research Area (ERA) is seeing an influx of highly competent researchers joining its ranks. One notable Swiss project has recently contributed to this endeavour by introducing a new generation of researchers to the ERA and disseminating valuable research knowledge.

Fundamental Research

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland’s largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences, excels in world-class research on condensed matter, materials sciences, energy, environment and health. With the support of the EU-funded project PSI-FELLOW (International fellowship program on materials & matter, energy & environment, human health & life-sciences, and accelerator technology), PSI brought more high-level researchers to its fold. It launched a 60-month programme open to researchers worldwide who had completed their PhD and wanted to further their careers in one of PSI’s research topics. This included not only matter, materials, energy, ecology, medicine and life sciences, but also new accelerator concepts and beam characterisation. Through a transparent, merit-based evaluation and selection process with internal and external experts, the Institute recruited 64 fellows from 2012 to 2017 over two rounds of applications. The fellows were recruited as postdoctoral researchers for up to 24 months, with a third of them specialising in synchrotron radiation and nanotechnology. The new researchers benefited from excellent on-site research facilities, including the Swiss Light Source, Spallation Neutron Source, Swiss Muon Source or proton accelerator, and Hot Laboratory for radioactive material. Over their 2-year secondment, the fellows conducted multidisciplinary research with the support of high-level scientists to address some of the world’s key challenges related to industry, society, economy and environment. The fellows’ research was disseminated through more than 190 peer-reviewed journals and 170 conferences. Overall, the project was instrumental in retaining talent in Europe and in contributing to the ERA. It raised research competitiveness and contributed a wealth of findings and outcomes to stimulate the knowledge-led economy of Europe. Lastly, the 2-year programme has helped launch the fellows’ careers and increase the pool of researchers in the continent, who are now armed with a plethora of skills and experiences.

Keywords

Materials sciences, energy, health, PSI-FELLOW, accelerator technology, synchrotron radiation

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