Marie Curie Multipartner Training Site Host Fellowship Contract N°: HPMT-CT-2000-00152
Main Objective :
The Marie Curie Training Site project, which is comprised of a network of 8 University research groups in 6 EU countries (Cambridge, London School of Economics: UK, ‘La Sapienza’, Rome: Italy; E.E.H.S.S., Paris, Aix-en-Provence: France, Helsinki, Finland; I.S.C.T.E. – Lisbon, Portugal; Basque Country, Spain;), chosen from 13 Universities delivering the European PhD on Social Representations, aimed at supplying advanced research training in the area of Social Representations and Communication, with the training provided through the Multipartner Training Sites.
Through its network of 8 research groups in 6 EU countries (see above) the objective of the Marie Curie Multipartner Training Site (MCTS) – based on the didactic training structure adopted by the European Ph.D. on S.R. & C. programme - was to offer an innovative didactic system based on tutoring and co-tutoring both in their home University and two network Universities abroad. The structured individual and collective physical mobility system was aimed at developing fellows’ research projects in a stimulating international environment, open to multi-disciplinary and multi-methodological approaches.
Recruitment of fellows:
According to the initial recruitment strategy outlined in Annex V - Marie Curie Multipartner Training Site Implementation Plan, the aim was to recruit 50% doctoral research trainees enrolled in the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com and 50% from young researchers not enrolled in the European Ph.D.. on S.R. & C., but in other doctoral programmes, in order to make the selection of applicants more competitive and fair, and also to avoid giving special privileges to research trainees enrolled in the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. The selection of fellows was intended to be based on scientific merit, the compatibility of their doctoral studies with the Marie Curie training site and equal opportunities among male and female candidates. Fellows were to be recruited for stays abroad for a minimum period of 3 months, with the initial objective of assigning 1 fellow to each of the 8 research groups for a 12 month period (=96 months x 4 years = 384 months).
Through the organisation of the network, fellows followed MCTS training activities, individual and collective supervision within an international doctoral programme which since 1996 has been operating through a formal agreement (JOINT DOCTORAL DEGREE), being recognised by all training sites within the network Universities via shared Regulations and several programmes approved by the DG-Research (T.M.R., High Level Scientific Conferences, Marie Curie Actions Series of Scientific Events), by the DR-Education and Culture (Erasmus Socrates Advanced Curriculum Development, Intensive Programs, Teaching Staff Mobility, Thematic Network) and by Ministries (in particular by the Italian Ministry under the Internationalisation of the Higher Education System programme), by the French-Italian Ministries under the Vinci Programme and by the EUA European University Association.
Due to the didactic formula adopted by the European Ph.D. on S.R. & C. the fellows would be guaranteed research training - not only at the level of the host University, but also at the European Ph.D. network level - in an international environment; intensive didactic stages in multicultural settings; training process assessment; officialisation of the qualification,
In order to begin the recruitment process, it was planned to advertise the fellowships through advertisements published in prominent international journals and newsletters, through directly emailing target groups, and through the medium of the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. website (www.europhd.psi.uniroma1.it). This website contains links to the other partner institutions’ websites along with the contact details of their representatives. It was agreed that the partner institutions would also disseminate information to candidates at an institutional level. It was planned that target groups for recruitment would include:
- Young researchers (aged 35 years or under), EU citizens enrolled on doctoral programmes out of the Multi-partner Marie Curie Training Sites network or enrolled on the European PhD programme;
- Special target groups – in the position of applying for M.C. fellowship – such as researchers who work in less-favoured regions of Europe (i.e. Portugal, Greece) and women researchers;
- Young post-graduate members and affiliates of national and international scientific associations in social Psychology;
- Participants in previous International Summer Schools dedicated to the European Ph.D. who meet the requirements;
- Young researchers interested in the M.C.T.S. who have contacted the scientific secretary of the European Ph.D. or one of the tutors belonging to the programme.
In agreement with the contract implementation plan, the Co-ordinator of the Marie Curie Training Site (Prof. Annamaria de Rosa) would be responsible for the selection of candidates along with the other members of the Core Executive Committee, made up of the Scientific Co-ordinator (Prof. Annamaria de Rosa), the Programme Director (Prof. Serge Moscovici) and representative partners of the Universities who officially recognised the European Ph.D. qualification from the outset (Prof. Jorge Jesuino; Institutio Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa, Lisbon. Pt; Prof. Klaus Helkama, University of Helsinki, SF). It was decided that the Core Executive Committee would examine the proposals, advanced by the applicants individually supported either by means of the M.C.T.S Scientific Board (i.e. the representatives of each Marie Curie Training site Institution) or by representatives of the European Ph.D. Scientific Board or other Institutions and Research Centres not belonging to the European Ph.D. network.
Candidates were required to apply to the scientific co-ordinator directly by means of an online application form. Applications could be supported through one of the representative members of the Marie Curie Training Site network, through one of the national tutors belonging to the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. Network or through tutors of doctoral programmes at the applicant’s home University outside the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. Network. This was decided in order to guarantee that applicants would be drawn from as wide a base as possible and not be recruited exclusively within the M.C.T.S. multi-partner organisation. All applicants were to be treated equally and selected on the basis of excellence. The objective was to recruit a minimum of 50% of fellows from outside of the partner organisations within the multipartner training site.
A preliminary start up meeting in 2000 and a general start-up meeting in 2001 with the participation of representatives both from the EC DG-Research and all the MCTS-network Institutions was planned. Following this preliminary start up meeting. it was envisaged that quarterly meetings of the Core Executive Committee would be held in Paris to discuss the received applications for the fellowships, and to make a final selection. The minutes of these meetings were to be recorded and made available to the Commission and partners. It was envisaged that these quarterly meetings which, along with the bi-monthly meetings of the Programme Director of the European Ph.D. and the Scientific Co-ordinator, would also serve to monitor the quality of the scientific M.C. fellow’s training integrated within the Euro Ph.D.
Assigning of Tutors/Host Universities :
According to the European Ph.D. requirements, research trainees enrolled in the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com were to be assigned two foreign tutors, selected by the Core Executive Committee, working at Universities in two different European countries (aside from a national tutor) responsible for the supervision of his/her training. Marie Curie Fellows not enrolled in the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com were to be assigned at least one foreign tutor. It was intended that the fellow would spend a period of a minimum of three months to one year at the host University of the Tutor. The length of the stay would depend on the fellow’s individual scientific reasons and the status of the research. In this way, the fellow would have the opportunity to receive personal one to one training from each of the assigned tutors, thus benefiting from each tutor’s particular area of expertise. Moreover, participation in the annual International Summer Schools at the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. Research Centre & Mulimedia Lab, at the coordinating University (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’), would simultaneously maximise the amount of exposure to fellow young researchers from different international backgrounds, receiving suggestions/comments from them, thus enabling the fellow to benefit from the invaluable feedback of a variety of experts in the field both from within the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. Network and from outside of the network, as well as from his/her peers.
The fellows would be closely and individually monitored through an integrated system of structured individual physical mobility at host training sites (fellows’ individual stages abroad at the host University) and the collective mobility of both doctoral research trainees and Professors from inside and outside of the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. network in the form of the annual International Summer Schools organised by the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. at the coordinating University (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’), as well as through the open distance learning system (virtual mobility), guaranteeing quality, long-term tutoring by supervisors and considerable flexibility in accordance with Fellows’ needs. The Marie Curie Training Site scheme would provide the financial support required in order to facilitate the fellow’s training abroad.
The designation of the appropriate training site for each fellow was to be decided by the Core Executive Committee based on the applicability of topic of the project and the individual subject areas, the methodological plan e.g. experimental approach or field approach, and the status of the programme to be developed (i.e. if the fellow intends to collect data during the stay abroad or does that data only need to be analysed). The Committee would also take into account the preferences indicated by the candidates and the distribution of tutorships among all members of the Scientific Board, therefore assigning appropriate tutoring in accordance with the fellows’ needs, and achieving a balance in the distribution of the fellows across the network over the four years of the programme.
It was aimed that through the highly innovative didactic structure with the open distance learning system of virtual mobility integrated with the structured individual and collective physical mobility, that the doctoral research trainees would be guaranteed individual tutoring, co-tutoring and interactive learning. Under the ECTS system, doctoral research trainees enrolled in the European Ph.D. on S.R. & C. programme were to be awarded up to 60 credits per year under the following headings:
- Through the training given by the Scientific Co-ordinator in meta-theoretical analysis of bibliographic material in their own subject area (10 credits per year)
- The intensive individual tutoring and co-tutoring by national and foreign tutors in research training (30 credits)
- The Intensive high level didactic stage would be provided in the form of the annual EC – financed International Summer Schools and International Lab Meetings, which doctoral research trainees were required to attend (10 credits per year)
- Fellows would attend seminars and advanced courses held at network University sites, planned in accordance with a teacher exchange mobility programme and including invited international experts. (5 credits per year)
- Fellows would make use of the open distance learning system through email and Internet access, a CD-ROM multi-media system, forum discussion and multi-point videoconferences. (5 credits per year)
Fellows would therefore complete the fellowship with a much broader acquisition of knowledge from a variety of leading experts in their field in different environments, than would a doctoral research trainee enrolled on a stationary doctoral programme.
Emphasis was to be placed on research, its theoretical background knowledge and methodological training for developing empirical research programmes.
Since the European Ph.D. on S.R. & C. has been operative since 1996 in the training of EU and non-EU postgraduates, the following benefits were already visible and represented a well-established basis for the training of the Marie Curie Fellows:
- Fellows were to be guaranteed European standards as regards: selection and training procedures; research training in an international environment; intensive didactic stages in multicultural settings; training process assessment; recognition of the qualification.
- Fellows would benefit from the didactic structure of the international doctoral programme which operates through a formal agreement, recognised by the partner Institutions. The European Ph.D. may be followed in addition to a national Ph.D..
- Fellows would be offered a broader range of international expertise and approaches than would be possible at a national level: with the network of Marie Curie training sites incorporating the most highly qualified European experts in the field.
- Fellows would be closely and individually monitored through an integrated system of physical mobility at host training sites (stage abroad) and open distance learning (virtual mobility), guaranteeing quality, long-term tutoring by supervisors and considerable flexibility in accordance with Fellows’ needs.
The tutoring and co-tutoring of the fellows would monitor the development of the research programme at both national and foreign training sites over the full period. Fellows enrolled in the European Ph.D. on S.R. would be assigned their own research « space » on the website in order to update their project and to allow for supervision by national and foreign tutors, along with monitoring by the programme director and the scientific co-ordinator.
It was decided that the personal supervision of the doctoral research trainees’ training and the development of their research projects would operate through a system of shared criteria, and standardised tools of assessment, which have been developed to facilitate mutual awareness of the fellows’ progress among the three tutors, the programme director and the scientific co-ordinator. Supervision of European Ph.D. research trainees and Marie Curie Fellows would include :
- individual bibliographic training sessions
- individual tutoring on the research project on demand
- distance tutoring and co-tutoring
- group monitoring sessions during seminars
- forum discussion and video-conferencing
- individual and group training for research project presentation
- yearly International Summer Schools
- International Lab meetings
In this way, the fellows would be closely and individually monitored through an integrated system of structured individual physical mobility at host training sites (stage abroad), collective mobility of both doctoral research trainees and Professors from inside and outside of the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. network in the form of the annual International Summer Schools organised by the European Ph.D. on S.R. & Com. at the coordinating University (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’), and through the e-mail and open distance learning system (virtual mobility – assured both before and after their stay abroad) thereby guaranteeing quality, long-term tutoring by supervisors and considerable flexibility in accordance with the fellow’s needs. In addition, the fact that the European Ph.D. guarantees a maximum of 2-3 fellows per tutor per year ensures individual tutoring and close monitoring of the fellow’s progress at all times.
Fellows were required to provide a yearly report to be presented during the dedicated training session at the annual International Summer Schools, and encouraged to participate in the multi-point video-conference and forum discussion via web page. Presentation at international conferences and publication of their piece of research was expected depending on the development plan of the fellow’s training programme.
Management of the Marie Curie Multipartner Organisation:
During the Marie Curie start-up meeting held at La Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris on 10th March 2001, the partners were clearly informed by the EC representative that (unlike in the case of individual Marie Curie fellowships, where the host Institution gets part of the funds) under the Marie Curie Multipartner Organisation site the contract is based on exchanges and mutual assistance among the partners, and under the following conditions:
« The scientist in charge, XXX, on behalf of the host university XXX, commits him/herself
(1) to host each fellow for the entire duration of his/her project;
(2) to have, throughout the duration of the contract, the means, including the infrastructure, and the management of the project(s) and in particular the training through research in the scientific and technical fields concerned;
(3) to make the means mentioned in point (2) of this paragraph available to each fellow, as necessary and from the commencement date of her/his project;
(4) to ensure that each fellow enjoys, at the place(s) of implementation of his/her project, the same working conditions and standards of safety and health as afforded to local researchers; »
The representative from the EC (Dr. Peter Crawley) explained that the co-ordinator is responsible for both scientific and financial management of the Multipartner Training Site.
- the co-ordinator would provide an agreement for each fellow (signed by the co-ordinator, the scientist in charge and the fellow). The agreement would also contain the description of the research training to be completed by the fellow, including the didactic requirement of the European Ph.D. on S.R. & C., as well as a specific description of the doctoral research of the fellow.
- the co-ordinator would proceed with the monthly transfer of payment to the fellow’s bank account.
- To guarantee the proper implementation and realisation of the fellowship, the co-ordinator suggested that the scientist in charge would confirm, on a monthly basis, the good proceeding of the fellowship. Alternatively and at least, the scientist in charge would notify the co-ordinator without delay if he/she was aware of any circumstances likely to affect the performance of this contract, such as:
- any event likely to prevent a project from being properly implemented or properly completed;
- maternity leave and its consequences pursuant to the applicable national law under Article 4(1)(b) of Annex B
- In agreement with the implementation plan and with the decisions taken by the Executive Committee (of 7/10/2000 and 3/2/2001), the general start-up meeting confirmed that:
“The grants foreseen to cover research and management costs would be managed by the co-ordinator of the Marie Curie Training Site, and this sum would also be partially at the disposal to cover fellows’ expenses (participation in International Summer Schools, photocopies, publication results of the thesis, …), upon request and following the receipt of an invoice. This procedure was chosen since it is the co-ordinator who makes the yearly financial report, and since the co-ordination of the whole Marie Curie project would involve extra secretarial work and management costs. (Minutes of the Executive Committee of 7/10/2000)”
- To clarify the eligible research and management costs linked to the fellowship, the co-ordinator made a list based upon the guidelines (4.2 research and management costs), A procedure was to be implemented, where the expenses could be requested by the fellow (the co-ordinator was to create a form ad hoc to be distributed to each fellow together with the contract), who would be reimbursed upon the receipt of an invoice.
As mentioned above, it was aimed that the fellows be evenly distributed across the network: Fellows were to be recruited for stays abroad for a minimum period of 3 months, with the objective of assigning 1 fellow to each of the 8 research groups for a 12 month period (32 fellows for 96 months x 4 years = 384 months).
Duration of Contract:
It was envisaged that the contract would end with a total of 384 months of fellowship having been assigned by October 1, 2004.
The elements of this Marie Curie Training Site which we consider to be outstanding are indicated below from the internal perspective of the benefits for the fellows, the tutors and the network as a whole, and also from the external perspective of the scientific contribution, and career prospects of the young research fellows.