The first call of the YUFE4Postdocs programme, supported by the European Commission through the Marie Sklodowska-Curie programme, was launched on 1 March. The programme aims to attract 51 postdocs from the nine universities in the YUFE alliance. ‘The scholars will conduct research into urban opportunities and challenges within the focus areas of Sustainability, Digital Society, Citizen Wellbeing and European Identity,’ says Anne Adams (UAntwerp).
The postdocs will spend 36 months at a YUFE host university while fostering collaboration with a YUFE partner. ‘The first call has already led to a great batch of project proposals,’ says Adams. A second call will be launched in October.
The underlying training programme is designed to train postdocs to become bridge builders between universities and society. It focuses on developing skills to interact with various societal stakeholders, on open science and on open innovation. ‘In addition, the project aims to encourage research collaboration between the YUFE universities,’ Adams explains. The nature and extent of the involvement of civil society actors is determined according to the research and training path of each postdoc.
Building the future
YUFE4Postdocs aims to train future-proof researchers who can find a place in today’s broad society. The project also aims to build bridges between academia and society. YUFE4Postdocs has a new evaluation process based mainly on qualitative assessment and an attractive training offer, including interactive seminars on stakeholder involvement and a variety of collaborative training courses to hone transferable skills.
YUFE4Postdocs is run by the University of Antwerp, in intense partnership with the other YUFE universities. All universities co-finance the appointment of the future postdocs and contribute to the development of the training programme that will be rolled out after the researchers are appointed. With this project, the YUFE universities are furthering the alliance’s R&I agenda and the development of a truly European University. The formation of so-called European Universities is the most important internationalisation initiative in higher education since the Bologna Process.
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