Board member news

Top awards for international researcher mobility

Looking through the list of awards to Cardiff University from the Horizon 2020 programme, I was delighted to see four new European Fellowships awarded from the 2015 call for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships – very prestigious two-year research fellowships for internationally mobile researchers. The School of Physics and Astronomy scored a hat trick with three European Fellowships, whilst the School of Chemistry was also awarded one, with another two still tantalisingly close on the reserve list.

Dr Sarah Ragan and Dr Mattia Negrello are joining the Astronomy and Astrophysics group of the School of Physics and Astronomy. Dr Ragan is currently at the University of Leeds, having spent five years prior to that at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg. Dr Negrello is joining Cardiff University from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Padova. Dr Juan Pereiro Viterbro has recently joined the Condensed Matter and Photonics group at the School of Physics and Astronomy from the University of California in San Diego, whilst Dr Joseph Beames has joined the Spectroscopy and Dynamics section of the School of Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. My congratulations to all the new Fellows on winning such competitive awards!

Cardiff University has benefited enormously from the European Union’s Marie Curie – and now Marie Skłodowska-Curie – programme, with many ‘Marie Curie alumni’ amongst our staff. First launched in 1996 as a mobility scheme, it provided financial support to young researchers wanting to experience a different research environment and boost their career development through a period of work in another European country. The programme now has an annual budget of €800 million and covers a variety of funding schemes – Individual Fellowships, PhD Training Networks, staff exchange projects, COFUND – but with international mobility still firmly as its underlying key principle. What also makes the programme very popular (and competitive!) is its ‘bottom-up’ approach. All disciplines and domains of research and innovation – from fundamental research to market take-up and innovation services – are covered, with no pre-defined call topics or ring-fenced disciplinary budgets.

The current trend in the programme is to increase participation by the non-academic sector, which is something all new applicants need to be aware of. On that subject, the University is very fortunate to host the only UK stop of a Europe wide campaign to promote business-academic collaborations under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions on Friday, 18 March 2016. Whilst the main objective of the event is to encourage more involvement from the private sector in the programme, the line-up of expert speakers from the European Commission, large industry, SMEs, public sector and academia is guaranteed to deliver an insightful programme, exploring the theme of bridging business and research more widely. The event is free to attend but registration is required and places are limited. Please register at: