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Freie Universität Bozen

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MSCA PF @unibz Days: A Pathway to Research Excellence

The three-day workshop is designed to prepare and train potential candidates for the MSCA PF program. It will take place from the 21st to the 23rd of May at the Bozen-Bolzano Campus.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowship (MSCA PF) program is a prestigious initiative that promotes international and intersectoral mobility for researchers, offering talented young scientists the opportunity to advance their careers by working in different countries and sectors. Within this framework, the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano has developed robust support mechanisms to help researchers participate in the program, notably through the organization of the “MSCA PF @unibz Days”.

This three-day workshop is designed to prepare and train potential candidates for the MSCA PF program. It is a testament to unibz commitment to fostering academic excellence and supporting the career development of researchers. During the workshop, participants receive comprehensive guidance on the MSCA PF call, including how to craft a competitive proposal.

Today, after welcome and institutional greetings by Rector Paolo Lugli and Manuel Gatto, Head of the Scientific Research Office at the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Bozen, MSCA candidates presented elevator pitches and introduced themselves and their expectations. Subsequently, Mara Longhini, from the unibz Research and Innovation Office, provided an introduction to the 2024 MSCA PF call and then explained how to set up MSCA PF at unibz. Then, MSCA experienced evaluator Prof. Per Linus Siming of the Faculty of Economics and Management gave participants tips in an inspirational session. In the afternoon, Prof. Richard Lang, a former MSCA fellow and now a unibz professor, shared his experiences. After that, Mara Longhini conducted a workshop on writing a competitive MSCA PF proposal. 

The second day, tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 May 2024, will be dedicated to working on proposals with supervisors. This day is designed to gather further inputs and draft the proposals. Candidates will work closely with their supervisors, engage with research groups, and potentially meet stakeholders for secondments.

On the third and last day, Thursday, 23 May 2024, the morning session will begin with further inputs on proposal writing by Mara Longhini, followed by Kerstin Unfried, a unibz researcher awarded the MSCA PF in 2023, who will share her insights. The afternoon session will start with final suggestions from MSCA PF candidates. Closing remarks will be given by Prof. Johann Gamper, Vice-Rector for Research. The day will conclude with the definition of a targeted schedule towards the submission deadline, including bilateral meetings with the RIS Service and supervisors. At the end of the latter, the group will leave to visit the NOI Techpark. The visit aims to inspire candidates and provide insights into possible secondment opportunities and locations for dissemination or outreach events.

The “MSCA PF @unibz Days” exemplifies unibz proactive approach to supporting researchers and enhancing their proposals for the MSCA PF call. By offering targeted training and fostering a collaborative environment, unibz helps young researchers maximize their potential and contribute to the advancement of science and innovation. Last year, unibz supported seven candidates who submitted their projects for the MSCA PF 2023 call, with unibz as their host institution. The outcome was highly encouraging: one project (CovidCrimes - Criminal and state governance in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Mexico, by researcher Kerstin Unfried, supervised by unibz Professor Giacomo De Luca) received funding from the European Union, while four others were awarded the prestigious Seal of Excellence. This accolade is a quality label given to deserving proposals that, due to budget constraints, could not be funded by the EU. It serves as a testament to the high standard of these proposals and aids in securing alternative funding sources.