PROGRAM DESCRIPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION

Arnaud Lefranc, Nicola Ebenburger
CY Cergy Paris Université

LAUNCH OF THE CALL: 6 July 2020

1.     Background and overview

The EUTOPIA Alliance is a network of six universities that was awarded an Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ pilot project in 2019 and officially launched in December 2019:

The core mission of the EUTOPIA Alliance is to promote a connected and inclusive academic community, addressing global and local challenges, advancing excellence and inclusion, geared towards impact and fostering European economic development and innovation through a deep engagement of the Alliance with its local and regional ecosystems. The promotion of scientific excellence, research collaboration and mobility of academics among the partner universities is a core objective of EUTOPIA.

The partner universities therefore launch the joint EUTOPIA Researcher Mobility Program.

 

2.     Objectives of the program

The EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program supports short research visits for EUTOPIA researchers across partner universities in order to foster collaboration and integration, to share expertise and research infrastructures and to develop joint research activities (e.g. common publication, supervision of PhD co-tutelles, joint applications for external research funds etc.).

In order to create productive links between academics of the EUTOPIA alliance, all visits in the scope of the Research Mobility Program must be project-led. The projects shall be carried out at the host institution during the visit in collaboration with a host researcher within this institution.

The EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program is open to all academic disciplines and topics, while the EUTOPIA overarching theme “Planetary well-being” shall be promoted within the program and projects related to this theme are encouraged.

Visits are funded for duration of 2 to 3 weeks and be compensated as outgoing research mobility by the researcher’s home institution, in the limit of 3 000€ per visit.

The program implementation is guided by two principles:

  • Open and easily accessible program: lightweight application procedure, possibility to apply on-the-fly, quick answers;
  • Decentralized implementation: local program referents in each partner institution offer a direct contact for researchers.

 

3.     Application and selection process

The application and selection of projects to the EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program are jointly managed by the local program referents of the applicant’s home and host institutions (part 4 and 6).

Who can apply:

  1. Faculty from all EUTOPIA partner universities, including post-doctoral fellows.
  2. Faculty from other international partner institutions cooperating with a EUTOPIA research team.

Pre-doctoral researchers are not covered by this mobility program (but are eligible for a separate dedicated doctoral mobility scheme, in preparation).

A minimum of 3/4 of the visiting fellowships is dedicated to EUTOPIA faculty (EUTOPIA universities’ employees) and up to 1/4 can be given to faculty coming from outside the EUTOPIA network, under the condition of having an ongoing cooperation with a EUTOPIA university (other than the institution hosting the planned Research Mobility Program visit) linked to the visit.

Requirements:

All EUTOPIA Research Mobility visits must be centered on a research project, such as:

  1. A classical research project (focus on scientific objectives),
  2. An innovation project (focus on R&D, innovation and technology transfer) or
  3. A project focusing on the utilization of research results and their application in socio-economic environments.

In the case of a EUTOPIA Research Mobility linked to an ongoing research project between partner universities financed by external sources, such as H2020 etc., applicants must make sure that the EUTOPIA Research Mobility funds can be combined with the regular project financing. They can refer their home institution’s local program referent for more information.

Both the visiting fellow and the host researcher shall be actively implicated in the project’s realization during the visit.

How to apply:

Applicants submit the EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program application form:

  1. Applicants from EUTOPIA partner universities submit the form to the local program referents of his/her home and host institution: in a single email addressed to both referents;
  2. Applicants from other international partners institutions submit the form to the local program referent of his/her host institution, per email.

The application must include (within the application form):

  • a pre-defined research project, to be carried out during the visit;
  • the nomination of a host researcher co-responsible for the research project during the visit; he/she shall also be the first contact person for the visiting fellow in the host institution for the preparation of the visit and during the stay;
  • the counter-signature of the director of the host research center, confirming the research center’s capacity of offering good research conditions and office space during the visit;

Only applicants from other international partner institutions (not EUTOPIA universities) submit, additionally, a support letter from the EUTOPIA member university holding the research cooperation with the applicant, stating the ongoing cooperation and the interest of the applicant’s EUTOPIA Research Mobility for this cooperation.

When to apply:

  • The application process will open on 6 July 2020
  • Applications can be submitted continuously from this date on and until depletion of the dedicated mobility funds (part 5).

In the current circumstances of COVID 19 prevention, applicants need to take into account eventual travel restriction when submitting their application, in order to provide for travel dates which does not fall into periods of mobility restriction.

Selection process:

For applications from EUTOPIA faculty, a joint selection process is operated by the applicant’s home and host universities:

  • Check of the application’s eligibility by the local program referents;
  • Validation/refusal of the application by the institutions’ representative in charge of the EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program (VP in charge of International Scientific Development, VP Research, etc.);
  • Coordination between the program referents for joint validation/refusal of the proposal: if both institutional representatives accept the application, it is validated. If one refuses, it is refused.
  • Communication of the result to the applicant by his/her home institution’s program referent (within 2 weeks after reception of the application) [1]. This should include a feedback on the strengths (in case of validation) and weaknesses (in case of refusal) of the project in regards to the program objectives. Refused projects can be resubmitted.

For applications by faculty from other international partners institutions, the selection process is identical, with the sole difference that it implicates the host institution’s program referent and representative only.

Selection criteria:

The objective of the EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program is to contribute to the dynamics of a stimulating and interactive EUTOPIA research environment, including all topics and disciplines, with a special focus on the overarching theme “Planetary well-being”.

In line with the overarching theme, EUTOPIA encourages projects linked to UN Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and contributing to major societal questions. 5 specific themes have been identified for research collaboration which can also guide the development of EUTOPIA Research Mobility projects: (a) welfare and inclusion, (b) materials, (c) artificial intelligence, (d) health, and (e) sustainability.

More generally, it is expected from the research visits to either launch or reinforce research cooperation between EUTOPIA institutions on an individual (researchers), intermediate (teams/medium scale projects) or institutional level (research centers/large scale projects).

EUTOPIA Research Mobility proposals will be assessed against the above-mentioned criteria, with a special attention to:

  • A well-defined research project for the duration of the visit (i.e. definition of a challenge to be tackled, objectives to be attainted, cooperation dynamic to be reinforced);
  • The support of the project by a host researcher and a host research center;
  • The expected outcomes of the mobility visit and next collaboration steps planned after the visit.

4.     Implementation of the research mobility

The EUTOPIA Research Mobility Program will be implemented in a decentralized manner, by local program referents in each partner university (part 6) responsible for:

  • the promotion of the program among its academic communities,
  • the application and selection process,
  • the program implementation.

Program implementation:

  • Outgoing/incoming mobility: selected EUTOPIA Research Mobility projects submitted by EUTOPIA faculty are financed by the researchers’ home university according to the university’s general procedure for outgoing research mobility. Projects submitted by faculty from other international partner institutions are financed by the researchers’ host institution according to the university’s general procedure for incoming research mobility.

Issues such as health/accident insurance coverage and other practical aspects regarding the researchers’ visits (e.g. visa, if applicable, etc.) remain the sole responsibility of the researcher, according to the above-mentioned procedures of the home and host institutions for researcher mobility.

  • Financing modalities & expenditure: following the above-mentioned principles, each university applies its own modalities for financing the EUTOPIA Research Mobility visits, as well as its table for mobility expenditure. Expenditure in the scope of the EUTOPIA Research Mobility include accommodation and living expenses during the stay, as well as travel expenses, in the limit of 3000 euros per visit (total costs). According to each university’s functioning, the institution may assist the researcher in the organization of his/her research visit and directly pay the travel and accommodation costs, or ask the researcher to organize these aspects in order to be reimbursed by the institution.

Each university details its rules for mobility financing in a note “PRACTICAL MODALITIES OF THE EUTOPIA RESEARCH MOBILITY PROGRAM”, made available to candidates by the local program referent. The note includes details regarding the organization of the stay (assistance by the institution or organization by the researcher for reimbursement) and possibly additional expenditure restrictions, if applicable.

  • Host institutions’ services: the visiting fellow’s main contact person in the host institution is his/her host researcher. The host researcher shall help with the preparation of the visit, particularity for practical aspects regarding office space and access to research facilities in the host research center during the stay, as well as with internal services, and guide the visiting fellow during his/her stay. The host institution’s program referent can assist the host researcher for practical questions. Reasonable and bona fide costs of the research carried out as part of the mobility project will be financed by the host research center (material, tools, machines etc.).
  • Visiting fellow’s obligations: the visiting fellow must abide by all rules and obligations of the host university which affects him/her during the stay, such as safety, use of facilities, code of conduct, etc. Each visiting fellow is expected to prepare a short report on his/her research mobility on the basis of a template to be send to him/her by the program referent of his/her home (EUTOPIA faculty) or host institution (other international faculty) and submit it 4 weeks after the end of his/her stay to the program referent.

Each university wishing to clarify rules and obligations applying to incoming visiting fellows detail these in a note “RULES AND OBLIGATIONS FOR THE EUTOPIA RESEARCH MOBILITY PROGRAM”, made available to the candidates by the local program referents.

 

5.     Program budget / number of Visiting Fellows

  • EUTOPIA budget for the program (EU funds): 72K€
  • EUTOPIA Budget per partner institution (EU funds): 12K€

According to the up-mentioned budget and the maximum amount of 3 000€ per visit (part 4), each institution can finance a minimum of 4 research mobility projects. However, depending on each university’s table for mobility expenditure, the number of financed mobility projects can vary slightly  between the partners.

A first assessment of the program will be realized in December 2020. According to the success of the program in each institution, the partners shall be allowed to consider reallocation of parts of the funds between the partner institutions by mutual agreement, at the earliest six months after the launch of the program. Additional budget can also be made available on the bases of universities’ own contributions or additional funds coming from new EU calls for European Universities.

 

6.     Contacts

In order to get an overview on the research activity within the EUTOPIA partner institutions and establish the contact with individual researchers or research centers of partner institutions, please refer to the following links:

Local referents of the EUTOPIA Research Mobility program, in charge of the application / selection procedure and practical questions about the program, are:

  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel: secretariaat, rd.secretariaat@vub.be
  • CY Cergy Paris University: Karine Gambier Leroy, Secretary General of the Institut for Advanced Studies, CY Cergy Paris University, karine.gambier-leroy@cyu.fr
  • University of Gothenburg: Henrik Lindskog, Research Support Grants and Innovation Office, University of Gothenburg, henrik.lindskog@gu.se
  • University of Ljubljana: Rebeka Lesjak, Research support advisor, University office for Research, University of Ljubljana, rebeka.lesjak@uni-lj.si
  • Pompeu Fabra University: Mireia Calm, EUTOPIA Office, eutopia@upf.eu
  • University of Warwick: Institute of Advanced Study, IAS@Warwick.ac.uk

Contact for general inquiries: Nicola Ebenburger, Director of International Scientific Development, CY Cergy Paris University, nicola.ebenburger@cyu.fr

[1] Exception made for vacation periods, such as in August or End of December. Delays for an answer will be longer in these periods.