COST Committee of Senior Officials 27/28 June: Agenda Item 14 - Proposal for a Pilot Call for Specific COST Actions "Young Investigators Networks" (link)

June 9, 2006

Brussels, 08 Jun 2006

Full text of Document 252/06
Suite of documents 252/06

Subject: 165th CSO meeting on /28 June 2006, agenda item 14
- Proposal for a Pilot call for specific COST Actions "Young Investigators Networks"

Delegations will find attached a proposal for a Pilot call for specific COST Actions "Young Investigators Networks" to be presented to the 165th meeting of the CSO for approval.

Proposal for a Pilot call for specific COST Actions "Young Investigators Networks"

I. Motivation

1. Background

The Mid Term Review Panel 2005 requested COST to focus more strongly on the networking of younger researchers at an early stage of their career. The basic COST networking scheme could offer complementary opportunities to the individual mobility and excellence schemes of the Euro- pean Framework Programme and other initiatives, like the EURYI awards. In particular the pro- posed "starting independent researchers" scheme (SIR) by the ERC could be complemented by a new type of dedicated COST Actions. The programmes run by the European Commission within the "People" Specific Programme of FP7 (currently branded `Marie Curie' Actions) aim at enhanc- ing the mobility of PhD students in e.g. Research Training Networks. The EURYI scheme consists of an award to excellent teams. The SIR support by the ERC will target the most excellent teams in Europe. None of these schemes are aimed at networking activities to be funded out of these awards. Therefore a specific special type of COST Action could complement the other schemes in Europe, which aim exclusively at outstanding scientific excellence (SIR, EURYI, MC Re-integration Grants, etc.), by providing a networking instrument for young investigators.

The COST Office took the initiative, in close consultation with the ESF and Commission Services (in particular with the Marie-Curie programme), to prepare a proposal to explore the demand for an activity of this kind. During the Marie-Curie conference in Manchester 10 ­ 12 April 2006 the idea was presented by COST-Office as the part of the panel discussion of Marie Curie Fellowship Asso- ciation (MCFA) and received strong support form the audience. The Board of MCFA discussed the concept in more detail and offered support concerning the practical implications. The impressions gathered are in favour for a specific type of COST Action exclusively run and managed by re- searchers in the early stages of their careers.

2. Target group

The term academically "young" for the target group addressed refers to researchers up to five years after their PhD or equivalent qualification. This might be seen as too rigid ­ SIR stipulates PhD plus ten years ­ but it would encourage researchers at the early stages of their academic careers to make full use of the networking opportunities through COST to foster their fields of research. Permanent jobs are a problem at this academic age. Therefore a permanent job is no prerequisite to propose or participate in a Young Investigator Network ­ nevertheless, all participants are required to work on nationally funded research projects. The nominated participants of the network would remain members even if they moved between institutions. For the grant holding institute and the grant managing scientist individual solutions will be applied in case of a move to suit the need of the YIN participant in the same way as for other COST Actions in case of a change of the grant holding institute and/or scientific manager.

3. Added value

Special training demands were articulated by the target group on many occasions. The target group of young researchers' efficiency can be greatly improved by a structured training in research man- agement. This will enhance the slow learning-by-doing process which is common practice in

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