Board member news

Unprecedented success in winning European funding

I am delighted to report that in the latest round of applications to the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) programme for Individual Fellowships, the University was successful with eleven of its applications. Together these awards mean that some of the very best international early career researchers will make Cardiff University their home for the next few years, bringing with them over £1.5M in funding.  A further two proposals are first reserve on their respective panels, and stand a good chance of being funded in due course.

The MSCA programme funds European and Global Fellowships, which are open to researchers moving within Europe, as well as those coming in from other parts of the world.

This success is unprecedented and shows that individuals from all over the world are wanting to come and progress their careers here with us in Cardiff. It is also testament to our academic colleagues, with excellent support from the European and International Research teams in Research and Innovation Services and in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, who worked hard on these applications with their Fellows.

These results also show the benefit of engaging with the University’s annual MSCA Individual Fellowship Internal Support programme, which has already been launched for the next call deadline in September 2018.

Signed grant agreements with the European Commission are now in place and Fellows originally from China (2), Colombia (1), Cyprus (1), Italy (4), Romania (1) and the USA (1) will be joining us in the coming months, with the possibility of two more from France and India. In the majority of cases Fellows will spend two years at the University, with one Fellow spending the first year in Colombia, and the second at the University. Unfortunately, one of the successful applicants has now withdrawn as she is moving to the USA.

With the ‘bottom-up’ nature of the programme our new Fellows’ projects cover a very wide range of subjects including: applying the Circular Economy to the design of Social Housing; unlocking a new pathway for the treatment of corneal infection and disease; improving flood management practices; developing innovative anti-dengue candidate drugs; and  analysing and investigating East-Asian Buddhism in post-Apartheid South Africa.

I should also like to single out and offer my congratulations to Dr Jonathan Ben-Artzi, School of Mathematics, and his Fellow Dr Junyong Zhang from China, who will work on the project ‘Geometric analysis of dilute plasmas’ (GRANDPA). Their application scored 100%, making it the highest scoring application for the discipline of Mathematics, and one of only eight scoring 100% out of the 9,089 submitted across all of the MSCA panels.

Two of the successful bids this year were resubmissions from the previous round, so I encourage those of you who were unsuccessful this time to resubmit, and those interested in potentially hosting a Fellow in the future, to contact the European and International Office (EIRO) in Research and Innovation Services via: EIRO@cardiff.ac.uk, ext 70171, or tel: +44 (0)29 2087 0171.