Masterclasses pay off

Six departments at Science and Technology were awarded 12 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships in 2017, and there are two more on the waiting list. This is more than twice as many as in 2016, even though there were fewer applications.

2018.02.22 | Peter F. Gammelby

This photo was taken at the first Marie Skłodowska-Curie masterclass in 2016, at which 58 young researchers from all over the world took part in three days of combined workshop/career day/matchmaking events at Aarhus University. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU.

Targeted efforts over the past two years to attract young research talents and EU scholarships to Aarhus University are now paying off; especially for departments at Science and Technology.

Altogether, departments at ST received 12 of the 18 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (MSCA IF) granted by the European Commission to Aarhus University in 2017.

In 2016, ST received five fellowships.

The increase is largely due to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie masterclasses for potential PhD fellows, which the university organised in 2016 and 2017.

Help with applications

These events were a bit like matchmaking workshops, at which young researchers from all over the world could meet AU researchers from relevant sections and discuss a possible Marie Skłodowska-Curie application. If a pair got on well enough, the young researchers could also get help to complete their applications from their more experienced mentors.

Help to complete applications is clearly useful. In the 2016 round, ST achieved five fellowships from 77 applications, while the 12 fellowships in the 2017 round came from just 67 applications. Of the 12, eight of the new fellows had participated in a masterclass at ST.

The contracts for funding are still being drawn up. With this proviso, the fellowships were awarded as follows:  

Agroecology   1        
Bioscience   4
Physics and Astronomy   3
Geoscience   1
Molecular Biology and Genetics   2

There are two fellowships on the reserve list; one for Chemistry and one for iNANO.

And the success goes on

The masterclass events in 2016 and 2017 were originally a pilot project, but the good results have been so encouraging that ST and the Research Support Office will be holding a new Marie Skłodowska-Curie masterclass in May this year.

Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen is extremely pleased that the initiative has borne fruit. Firstly because recruitment of the most promising researchers from other countries is a vital part of the university's strategy because of the benefits this brings to the research environment and knowledge exchange. And secondly because the MSCA programme is a quick and effective way to strengthen a research group.

"We also hope that some of the 12 fellows will decide to stay at Aarhus University when their fellowship is over. There is every reason to praise the researchers, ST's research committee, the Research Support Unit, and the skilled fundraisers at departments for their impressive achievement. Congratulations on the excellent results. For all of us," says Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen.

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