Horizon 2020 Pillar 1 – Excellent Science

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Marie Curie Day 02

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We are showcasing a number of our campus colleagues who have been successful in what will be shortly known as Horizon 2020 Pillar 1 – Excellent Science and in particular Marie Curie.


A Marie Curie ITN as told by Prof Abhay Pandit, Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB).

Why did you choose to pursue a Marie Curie ITN at that time?

The Marie Curie ITN programme promotes increased scientific dialogue between lead academics, industry and clinicians throughout the EU and associated countries. This dialog advocates that end products of our research be industrialised and this helps create employment. Also, the multi-national network transfers key scientific and experimental knowledge between the institutions involved enabling the consortium to widen the scope of its work. The multi-national network that is promoted by the Marie Curie ITN programme enhances our multi-disciplinary approach.

What is your experience of this programme?

The funding provides for the recruitment of PhD and postdoctoral researchers who will receive experience in both the private and public sectors. A recurring complaint from recent graduates of PhD programmes is that they cannot find a job in industry because companies claim that the graduate has no industrial experience. This may be remedied through a combination of providing the researchers with both academic and industrial experience which should make them more employable. This, in turn, makes research careers more attractive to young people.

A unique feature of the grant is that it funds four research summer schools for early researchers enrolled in this specially-designed training programme. The acquirement of transferable skills through both specific training and involvement in the programme will ensure fellows develop greater proficiency in a variety of topics including: research management, research ethics, health and safety, report and technical writing, team-based research, and entrepreneurship. The contents of the research summer schools highlight the local expertise of host partners, as well as featuring contributions from all network partners.

Would you recommend a Marie Curie ITN and why?

This type of funding not only encourages researchers to stay in Europe but also attracts researchers from around the world to conduct research in the EU. About 40% of this funding will remain in Ireland.


A Marie Curie IEF as told by Prof. Daniel Carey, School of Humanities, Associate Director, Moore Institute

Why you chose to pursue a Marie Curie IntraEuropean Fellows at that time?

I have recruited two Marie Curie Intra-European Fellows (IEF) during my time at NUI Galway – Dr. Sven Trakulhun (2005-7), now based at the University of Zurich, and Dr. Ida Pugliese, who is currently working with me (2013-15). The IEF scheme is an excellent way of attracting young European scholars to NUI Galway. The funding is exceptionally generous, so they have a genuine opportunity to participate fully in academic life here and abroad, to engage in training, and above all to pursue a major project leading to publication.

What is your experience of this programme?

For me the benefits of participating in the scheme really come down to the pleasure of seeing people with talent get the break they need to have success in their academic careers. The prestige associated with Marie Curie and the connections they make give them every chance in the future. At the same time, it gives the project leader or mentor exposure to a world of scholarship going on in Europe that enriches one’s perspective, particularly by giving access to methods and traditions in other languages that sometimes get overlooked.

Would you recommend a Marie Curie Fellowship and why?

Recruitment through IEF also provides a way of spreading the word about the kind of research going on at NUI Galway. It’s especially satisfying since this dissemination is based on personal relationships, developed with young academics who experience a formative and often crucial moment in their careers. On the material side, the project leader receives a sum to use as a research budget for their own activities (around €7k), so there are tangible as well as intangible benefits. All in all, I recommend the scheme as a way of building a research group, expanding its range, and charting a future for an area of study across Europe.


A Marie Curie IAPP as told by Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis & Dr Oonagh Dwane, Tendon Regeneration Project Coordinator, Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway.
Web-page: http://www.tendon-regeneration.com

Why you chose to pursue a Marie Curie IAPP at that time?

The Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways scheme aims to foster co-operation between research organisations and commercial operators. Such partnerships focus on skills exchange between the two sectors on a specific project of common interest. Although recruitment of experienced researchers is enabled, the IAPP programme primarily aims to train existing early-stage and experienced research staff and expand their skill set, and uses intersectoral secondment to do so (e.g. from industry to academia and vice versa). The Programme provides support for numerous activities, including: exchange of know-how and experience through intersectoral secondment; research and networking activities; recruitment of experienced researchers.

In our case, there are three university partners (Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, NUI Galway, Ireland; Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; and University of Bolton, UK); two industry partners (Vornia Ltd, Ireland; and CollPlant Ltd, Israel) and a network partner (NW Tex Net, UK) with distinct skillsets in the area of tendon repair, biotechnology, cell biology, biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and textile technologies. The intersectoral interaction thereby fostered by the IAPP instrument enables the realisation of practical projects with short-term commercialisation potential. Additionally, the multi- and inter-disciplinary training provided through the partnership enhances the competiveness of participating researchers.

What is your experience of this programme?

Undoubtedly, the Marie Curie IAPP scheme has been enormously beneficial to our consortium; we have authored numerous interdisciplinary conference and journal publication; we have organised numerous beneficial training courses; we have enhanced the international reputation of NUI Galway; we have enabled our researchers with highly transferable skills, significantly improving career prospects and we have transferred technologies to an industry setting.

Would you recommend a Marie Curie IAPP and why?

All in all, the IAPP instrument, although slightly more complex than other FP7 calls, provides unique benefits to partners, builds strong relationships between universities and companies; accelerates pathways to commercialisation and provides participating researchers with excellent opportunities to enhance their career prospects.

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