Meet an IOF Marie Curie fellow
• An IOF/IIF Marie Curie fellowship: what
and why?
• Benefits for you, your research, your
institutions, your community and your
family?
• Challenges and Recommendations
IOF / IIF Marie Curie fellowships
• Career development fellowships
• Great if you are looking for funding to carry out
your research in:
A country outside Europe – IOF (international
outgoing fellowship)
A country in Europe – IIF (international
incoming fellowhip)
• Aim: gain new skills and expertise while
conducting high-level research in a country
in/outside Europe
RETURN and HOST institutions:
Experts in the field and wold-class
RETURN host
OUTGOING host
24 months
12 months
Expert in role of gut microbiota
PROJECT:
Role of microbiota
in mucositis
Expert in gut mucositis
Benefits for you
Big investment – Big return
•Gives you the opportunity to travel, meet other cultures
•Nice salary and living allowance, but limited budget for
research
•Widens your competences:
 scientific skills: new techniques or instruments, etc.
 complementary skills: proposal preparation to request funding, patent
applications, project management, tasks coordination, technical staff
supervision, etc
 organisational skills: organisation of training sessions, dissemination
events
 communication skills: project meeting, journal clubs
•Freedom vs Responsibility: you are the manager of your
project (under supervision)
Benefits for you
Big investment – Big return
•Meet the top experts in your field and they are happy to
have you in their team - you are the link!
•More opportunities:
– for funding
– long term joint collaborations and publications
– your network will grow exponentially – not two-fold!
•Recognition: people know that MC sponsored research
stands for quality, excellence and innovation
•A lot of doors open: EXAMPLE Belgian Scientists Event in
collaboration with the Belgian Embassy
Belgian Scientists Event March 7th
Concrete talks to intensify
collaboration between
Belgium and Australia
Benefits for you
Big investment – Big return
• Personal ‘enrichment’:
– getting out of your comfort zone
– pushing your boundaries
– reinventing yourself/new tactics
– breaking routine
– improving your language skills
– trouble-shooting
– decision-making
Benefits for your host institutions
Small investment – Big return
•Not a lot of hosts have had MC fellows before and are very
happy to have you in the lab (Recognition AND they get
you for free!)
•Your host benefits from what you achieve (EXAMPLE)
•Exposure: usually mentioned in the uni news
•Host shares expertise but at same time you transfer
knowledge/techniques/technologies too
•Opportunity to form the basis for long term joint
collaborations
•Shared publications, joint conferences
•Also the host’s network will grow exponentially
Benefits for the community
• Big investment – Big return
• EU is committed to spend a lot of money on
research and innovation because it is the only
way to economic prosperity
• EU is committed to solve the biggest challenges
of tomorrow: focus on climate change, antibiotics
resistance, aging, chronic illnesses
• Through my reserach, I am committed to reduce,
refine and and replace the number of laboratory
animal used for research (EXAMPLE)
Benefits for your family
• Big investment – Big return
• Many challenges!
– Travelling/moving usually exhausting
– It takes time to settle (new house, not immediately new home!;
new school for kids)
– New culture in every aspect
– New language
– Homesickness (thank you Skype!)
– Living in another time zone and season (other climat)
– New environment – impact on your health
– Building a new social network takes time, keeping it alive too
• Big return: traveling and living abroad is eye-opening:
(takes away prejudices, respect for immigrants in your
home country, overcoming the challenges make you a
‘richer’ person, a stronger family)
Challenges and recommendations
• Take enough time to prepare your application – you want
to avoid amendments! (3 months at least)
• Make sure you have all the ethical approvals before
submission and ask help from your host institution (takes
time!)
• The online system is very complex and overwhelming
• Read the guidelines! (takes time!)
• Ask help from your local Research and Development
department - get to know them and talk with them, you
will need them also during your fellowship
• Outgoing phase: aim for a realistic time frame (2 years)
Challenges and recommendations
• Check your visa conditions!
• Once started: get to know your Project Officer (contact
and helpline) – EC is a very bureaucratic system
• Invest in social events (work-related or not)
• Value your family and listen to their complaints/concerns
• Enjoy it ... It is truely a unique, lifechanging experience!
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Dr Barbara Vanhoecke, Marie Curie International Fellow