University of Vienna: 22 MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships awarded to the University of Vienna

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA-PF) is a prestigious EU-funded post-doc research and training programme in which postdoctoral researchers (fellows) gain additional skills and abilities working on a specific research project in a new environment, while also transferring their knowledge to their new institution.

While ranking as top host in Austria in Horizon 2020, between 2017 and 2019 the University of Vienna had an average of 36 submissions and 3-5 awards per call, supporting applicants that mostly came via their supervisor’s networks.

In 2020, supported by the Rectorate, the DLE FSNF launched a Programme to significantly increase both the number of applications and the success at the University; through a newly-introduced Expressions of Interest (EoI) step, it also aimed to attract and support excellent researchers from all over the world wishing to apply for this prestigious fellowship at the University of Vienna. Furthermore, the University also committed to fund an extra third year of salary to the top 10 applicants (5 female and 5 male) as ranked by the Commission. Applicants selected through the EoI, as well as applicants identified by their supervisors, received intensive support from FSNF throughout the application process. This resulted in 17 awards (one of which was unfortunately rejected).

The continuation of the Programme in 2021 has resulted in an even higher success rate this year: in March 2022 18 fellowships have been awarded to the University of Vienna and 6 applications were put on the reserve list. Furthermore, four additional fellowships were awarded from the reserve list in July, taking the success rate from 23% to about 28% (compared to the EU average success rate of 13-14%). During the course of the coming year, 22 fellows from 18 countries will join the University, and the top 10 applicants will again receive a third year of funding awarded by the University.

The new fellows are:

Diana Carbajal (Faculty of Mathematics)
Songcan Chen (Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science)
Christina Straub (Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science)
Anna Lopatina (Center for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science)
Elias Adiraenssens (Center for Molecular Biology)
Haocun Yu (Research Platform Testing the quantum and gravity interface)
Annette Oertle (Faculty of Lifesciences)
Maria Papadatou (Faculty of Lifesciences)
Katie Emelianova (Faculty of Lifesciences)
Iris Breda (Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy)
Mizan Rambhoros (Faculty of Psychology)
Ádám Nemeth (Research Platform The Challenges of Urban Futures)
Josue Ayuso-Carrillo (Faculty of Chemistry)
Rodrigo Chocano (Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies)
Blanka Misic (Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies)
Pavel Horak (Faculty of Catholic Theology)
Georgina Nugent-Folan (Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies)
Alina Kamenou (Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies)
Nicolle Leary (Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies)
Radka Sustrova (Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies)

Two additional fellowships have been awarded in March to the Faculty of Psychology and the Research Platform Transformations and Eastern Europe.

Due to its success, measured not only in terms of submitted and awarded applications, but also in terms of raising awareness, boosting international networks and highlighting excellent areas of research at the University of Vienna, the Programme has been launched again for the 2022 call but in a slightly more simplified way (without the EoI step).

To support the third edition of the Programme, the Rectorate has again committed to fund an extra third year of salary for the top 10 applicants (5 female, 5 male), and 95 researchers have already joined as potential mentors. The DLE FSNF will continue to provide dedicated support to applicants and supervisors, including proposal checks and an online workshop specifically for Univie applicants. The aim going forward is to further increase success, and to create a positive impact on more young researchers’ careers. The entire initiative is an important component in the overall effort to give more attention to postdocs in the coming years.