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Back Issues Online
Back Issues Online

by Peter Kunz and Emma Lière

Since September 2010, the ERCIM Alain Bensoussan Fellowship Programme has been supported by the ‘FP7 Marie Curie Actions - People, Co-funding of Regional, National and International Programmes’ (COFUND) of the European Commission. Many ERCIM member institutes have taken advantage of this opportunity and 80 fellowships have already been granted.

Benefits for hosting institutes
With the implementation of 'COFUND' , the European Commission recognized ERCIM’s successful and long-lasting fellowship programme. As expected, the co-funding resulted in a considerable increase in the number of granted ERCIM Fellowships. The programme is now at mid-term and all ERCIM member institutes are strongly encouraged to participate. The advantages for a hosting institute are obvious: 30% of the costs for postdoctoral position can be co-funded. Additionally, the employment conditions are very flexible. Fellows can be hosted either with a working contract or a stipend agreement. With up to 250 applications for each round and an effective evaluation procedure, it should be easy for all institutes to find highly qualified post-docs for their labs.

Encouraging mobility
The programme places a high value on trans-national mobility for training and career development. ERCIM supports fellowships of one or two 12 month terms. The 2x12 months fellowships are spent in two different institutes to strengthen collaboration among ERCIM research teams. Fellowships comprising a single 12 month term include a ‘Research Exchange Programme’ where fellows spend at least one week in two different ERCIM institutes. In order to encourage mobility, an institute cannot host a fellow from the same country.

Great opportunity for post-docs
The programme enables bright young scientists from all over the world to work on a challenging problem as fellows of leading European research centres. A fellowship helps widen and intensify the network of personal relations and understanding among scientists. The programme offers the opportunity to:

  • achieve the status of a EU Marie Curie Fellow
  • work with internationally recognized experts
  • improve knowledge about European research structures and networks
  • become familiarized with working conditions in leading European research centres
  • build networks with research groups working in similar areas in different laboratories.

A novelty of the programme is the yearly ‘ABCDE seminar’ which offers fellows training in a range of non-scientific skills. The first seminar was held over two days in November 2010 in Berlin with an exciting programme covering topics such as media training, career management, ‘from research to business’, intellectual property rights, ethics in research. The seminar also provided an excellent opportunity for networking and community building.


Please contact:
Emma Lière, ERCIM Fellowship programme coordinator
ERCIM office
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Marco GiuntiMarco Giunti, postdoctoral fellow at Inria:

"My experience with the ABCDE programme is extremely positive. I had the
chance to get in touch with top-level researchers and to contrast my background and ideas with those of students and professors of several nationalities. The richness of the environment contributed to stimulate my research; the period spent under the programme has been indeed very prolific. I have particularly enjoyed the possibility to meet other fellows in the seminar organized by the ERCIM office, which in my view was a complete success. It was an excellent occasion to exchange our experiences as well as to establish new connections. I would recommend this programme to everyone in love with serious and outstanding research."

Valerie IssarnyValérie Issarny, Senior Research Scientist at Inria:

"Alessandra Toninelli visited our group ARLES at Inria while she was a post-doc researcher at the University of Bologna. Seeing a great potential for collaborating in our research on socially-aware middleware and her great competence in semantic technologies and access control policies, we offered her a subsequent ERCIM Fellowship in Paris-Rocquencourt. Here, she spearheaded work on Yarta, a middleware for mobile social networks, which is currently one of the main areas of new work on our group, and has also been used by our collaborators at Trinity College, Dublin. She then remained with us as an Inria postdoc, before being hired by Engineering Inc. in Italy with the post of BI consultant. Alessandra is still in touch with the group members. This was a great experience for both the ERCIM fellow and host, and we will definitely be on the lookout for more such opportunities"

Ilangko BalasinghamIlangko Balasingham, Adjunct Professor, Department of Electronics and Telecommunications at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology:

"I have hosted eight fellows at my group at NTNU since 2006, and my impression of all of them has been very positive! My research in signal processing and wireless communications for medicine requires a team that has a diverse research background to solve complex problems. The hosted fellows were specialists in signal processing, physical layer, MAC layer, network protocols, computer networks, optimization theory, and mathematics. Furthermore, they were genuinely interested in learning new skills and getting involved in complex research projects. Most of them contacted me before submitting their applications, which made the match-making process a bit easier. Their contributions have been very fruitful for us: each fellow, on average, has submitted three journal/conference papers during the tenure. I still have regular contact with many of them and will be looking for new fellows! I would also like to convey my sincere gratitude to the people working at the ERCIM offices at NTNU and in Nice for their professional way of handling and solving many practical issues."

jean-laurent hippolyteJean-Laurent Hippolyte, postdoctoral fellow at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland:

"My first experience as a young postdoctoral researcher was even better than I expected. I not only have enhanced my skills and learned new ones, but also met interesting people and discovered another culture and other ways of working and collaborating. The ERCIM Office addressed most annoying money matters so that I could focus on enjoying great scientific work with the help of my hosting supervisor. My personal research project has been greatly influenced by the collective projects in which I was involved, both international and national (inside my host country) thanks to the fellowship. The research exchange trips are particularly enriching: they gave us the opportunity to share experiences with other European research teams in a close and casual way. Overall, an ERCIM Fellowship is a gratifying adventure that I would recommend to any young researcher willing to establish long-term international collaborations."

Jason FrankJason Frank, leader of CWI’s research group MAC1 - Computational and Stochastic Dynamics:

"Sergiy Zhuk visited my group at CWI while he was a fellow at INRIA. We found his work on data assimilation and his individual enthusiasm so interesting that we offered him a subsequent ERCIM Fellowship in Amsterdam. Before the term of his appointment had passed, he was hired by IBM Research in Dublin, where he will direct a research group on assimilation of satellite data for deduction of ocean flows, and maintain collaborations with us. Overall this was a great opportunity for both fellow and host, and I will be sure to keep an eye open for future ERCIM applicants."

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Next issue: July 2024
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