MSCA Master Class: Young researchers at Politecnico - 1st episode

"Marie Curie" research grants allow young scientists from all over the world to come to Milan with their projects: how do the grants work? And what are the scientists studying?

Scientific and technological research at Politecnico di Milano has different financing sources: as a public University a lot of the financing comes from the Ministry of Education; external financing is still gaining importance in the last few years, that is support coming from institutions or companies, weighting for around 101 million euros per year (25% of the total budget for research).

Among the institutions most involved in research funding is the European Commission. Since 2014, through the Horizon 2020 program, the Politecnico has received around 186 million euros from the Commission, which were used to fund 426 research projects.

Most are collaborative projects between different research centers. A portion of the funding is instead dedicated to researchers who proved their excellence: among these, the Politecnico has welcomed 34 ERC and 24 Marie Curie Individual Fellowship . These are grants that are granted to individual researchers for particularly promising projects, which concern frontier scientific fields or emerging technologies with great potential for innovation and collective interest.

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ERCs are intended for established researchers, already at the top of their scientific fields ( if you are interested in finding out more about the ERC projects that carry out frontier scientific research at the Politecnico di Milano we talked about it on MAP here , here and here ). The Marie Curie grants, on the other hand, are intended for the "second generation"of researchers and are designed to encourage young researchers who deal with these crucial issues.

Young researchers applying for a “Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship” (MSCA-PF) can submit a project proposal in collaboration with a European research center and under the supervision of a scientific director who is part of it.

The best universities attract the best candidates, also thanks to the support of the supervisors: “older” scientists, with experience in the specific field, able to guide the winners in the various steps of the research project, which usually lasts 2 or 3 years.

Attracting young researchers with an international profile is important for the Politecnico, as explained by Donatella Sciuto, Vice-Rector and delegate of the Rector for research in an interview with Alumni: “they bring new life in the research system. They have passion, energy, new ideas and time to devote vertically and intensively to very specific problems and themes. In the 2017-2020 strategic plan, we had the goal of hiring 100 new researchers, a goal that has been achieved and exceeded. For 2020-2022 we would like to increase the number of researchers of an extra 20%.

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MSCA MASTER CLASS

In order to acheive this goal, Politecnico has launched a talent development program to support young people and make them more competitive in the acquisition of European grants and in general on the international research scene. One of the actions envisaged in the strategic plan is the MSCA Master Class , a training course designed for potential MSCA Postdocs, who can obtain support from the University and expert supervisors during the writing the proposal and submitting it in response to the call from the European Commission.

Only the best candidates are admitted to the Master Class, which maximizes their chances of success and at the same time encourages them to rely on the Politecnico di Milano.

Since 2014 24 MSCA researchers were welcomed in the University. We'll learn more about them in the next episode!

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