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EUTOPIA invests €10.2m in young researchers tackling real-world challenges

· €10.2 million to be invested in EUTOPIA Science & Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowships Programme (EUTOPIA-SIF), with €5.6 million by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme

· A further €4.6 million in total to be invested by EUTOPIA alliance members

· Research will be funded in health and disease, energy and sustainability, and data and artificial intelligence.

EUTOPIA — a community of six European campuses striving to address global and regional challenges, and to develop a new form of open, inclusive, innovative higher education — is to invest 10.2 million to train early career researchers in fields such as data, health, welfare, and sustainability.

The EUTOPIA Science & Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowships Programme (EUTOPIA-SIF) has been awarded €5.6 million by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme, with that amount boosted by a further €4.6 million from EUTOPIA members.

EUTOPIA-SIF will train a cohort of 76 post-doctoral researchers over five years, to be part of the future generation of science and innovation leaders in Europe — with internationally excellent collaborative research and teaching, and working hand in hand with local government, business and organisations.

The programme will see the researchers work research areas to help tackle real-world challenges like sustainable materials, water and the environment, antimicrobial resistance, cancer and reproductive health, the impact of big data and artificial intelligence, and ethical issues and inequality.

EUTOPIA-SIF will develop new projects with collaborators across the alliance: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CY Cergy Paris Université, University of Gothenburg, University of Ljubljana, Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and the University of Warwick.

Commenting on the funding Professor Peter Scott, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick – as well as the University’s lead academic on the EUTOPIA-SIF programme - said:

“The challenges facing our world today require us to collaborate across international divides and across traditional disciplinary boundaries. We also need to align our work with that of the businesses and organisations in all sectors that will help us deliver real benefits to society. We thus intend that the people emerging from this project will be equipped to change the world – making lives healthier, fairer, safer, more just and resilient, and more enriched. The Institute of Advanced Study at Warwick is very proud to be delivering this major program with our EUTOPIA partners.”

The first call for applications will be published in the Autumn of 2020. Fellows will be offered full freedom to pursue their research project while benefiting from expert mentoring and state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

More than 45 companies, local authorities and non-profit organizations will train or host researchers on secondments to support the programme.

The programme is led by another founding member of EUTOPIA, CY Cergy Paris Université.

Arnaud Lefranc, Vice-President for International Scientific Development at CY Cergy Paris Université, said:

“The EUTOPIA Science and Innovation Fellowship Program will create outstanding opportunities for talented young researchers to explore new research horizons, within an integrated program, gathering the scientific communities of the EUTOPIA alliance.

“It aims to train 76 post-doctoral researchers, with a high degree of entrepreneurial and innovation awareness to be part of the future generation of Science and Innovation leaders in Europe, capable of addressing the global challenges of our times.

“The program will also stimulate the furthering of research collaborations and joint projects within EUTOPIA. I look forward to seeing the first cohort of fellows start their research!”

Professor Seán Hand, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Europe at the University of Warwick and an academic leader of the EUTOPIA network, said:

“I am delighted to welcome this new and significant funding for the EUTOPIA Science & Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowships Programme, which is both an endorsement of the ambitions and capabilities of our EUTOPIA alliance, and a dynamic complementary boost to our collective aims. We are developing an innovation-driven, interdisciplinary programme for world-class collaborative research.

“We are providing outstanding young researchers with a community of enquiry that is inherently transnational, highly mobile, and resource-rich - and we are integrating brilliant researchers into sustainable and transformative academic-industry partnerships of urgent relevance.”

Notes to editors:

EUTOPIA is an alliance of six universities that have recently been included in the Erasmus+ 'European Universities' pilot project.

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 EUTOPIA-SIF program is a significant step toward this goal. 

10 February 2020