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Package 05

Education and Training

To set up, implement and monitor the Education and Training Programmes of BIOPOLIS CoE, thereby contributing to train a new generation of highly-skilled researchers and providing continuous development opportunities for established researchers and practitioners.
5.1. Set-up the education and training programme of BIOPOLIS
The Education and Training Programmes will be developed by the Communication, Advancement and Engagement Unit (CA&EU), and will be set up with the support of the Head of Unit and the Education and Training Officers. BIOPOLIS will focus on education and training of earlycareer researchers, improving their knowledge and skills to deal with the complex research questions addressed by the CoE, as well as to address problem-driven research in association with partner organizations. The programme will involve the training of PhD students which are enrolled in the BIODIV doctoral programme at UP, and that will be be trained and develop research at BIOPOLIS (see T5.2). BIOPOLIS will also provide a post-doctoral training programme (T5.3). To maximise societal impact and innovation potential of the Education and Training Programmes, agreements will be made to facilitate the development of research by PhD students and Post-doctoral researchers in close liaison with public and private organizations. Finally, BIOPOLIS will organise a series of advanced courses in collaboration with UM, considering the needs of researchers throughout their career development, and the needs of practitioners working in the fields covered by BIOPOLIS. To set up these Programmes, an Education and Training Strategy will be drafted by the CAEU in collaboration with the BIOPOLIS research community, benefiting from the best practice of UM. The CAEU will address the 3 components described in T5.2 to 5.4, and will fine tune the rules regarding for instance the processes of recruitment, the mechanisms of supervision and mentoring of PhD students and Post-doctoral researchers, and the general themes and calendar of the advanced courses. The strategy will be reviewed in M72 following evaluation and monitoring of the Programmes (T5.5).
5.2. Management of the Doctoral Programme
This task will assure training and research activities of PhD students enrolled in the ongoing Doctoral Programme in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (BIODIV) at UP, taking the role that has hitherto been assumed by ICETA-CIBIO. BIODIV is organized by UP, with the collaboration of CIBIO as a research partner, and the University of Lisbon (UL). BIOPOLIS will sign a new protocol with UP to take the responsibilities of research partner in BIODIV, which will set the conditions and model of supervision for students developing their research at the CoE. In addition, BIOPOLIS will foster a co-tutelle (joint supervision) agreement between UP and UM, whereby PhD students enrolled in BIODIV and with co-supervision with UM researchers will have a joint degree. This will merge best practices and possibilities offered by both doctoral systems, to the great benefit of students. Starting on the 3rd year, after the formal creation of BIOPOLIS Association and the recruitment of research staff, an annual call to award grants to PhD students in its research pillars, with 9 grants awarded per year. The selection processes will be administered by the CA&EU, in coordination with UP and UM. To maximise the exchange of experiences and the transfer of best practice, 3 PhD students will be recruited by UM, while the other 6 will be recruited by BIOPOLIS. PhD students will be selected following an open, international call, based on the successful model that has been used in BIODIV. The selection process will involve a thorough evaluation of the CV, followed by an interview with all top-ranking candidates. The Selection Committee will have up to 7 members designated by the BoD in articulation with the SC, and including researchers from UM with the relevant research expertise. The Doctoral Programme will also enrol PhD students that are supported by other funding sources, including FCT PhD grants. During the 1st year of the programme, students will receive advanced training to complement their scientific skills and expertise, but also other aspects contributing to personal development and better insertion in professional life, and they will prepare the PhD research plan to be completed during the following 3 years. During the 1st year, students will be accompanied by a team of mentors from BIOPOLIS and UM, that will guide them through all the academic aspects. Mentors will advise students on the development of research opportunities and the availability of supervisors. PhD students are expected to spend a minimum of 3-6 months per year in research institutions associated with UM, and they will have the opportunity to attend international conferences and workshops. Each student will be followed during the PhD by a committee made up of at least one external scientist specialist in the field, representative(s) of the doctoral school(s), and representative(s) of the laboratory(ies), who will meet each year with the student and the supervisor(s), to evaluate the progression, the quality of the work and of the supervision, and detect eventual problems. The committee will report to the laboratory(ies) and doctoral school(s).
5.3. Creation and Management of the Post-Doctoral Training Programme
This task will create and implement the Post-Doctoral Training Programme. The objective is to train researchers towards independence in the first few years after their PhD, and to provide additional professional development opportunities in the context of long-term career prospects. The programme will enrol a range of junior BIOPOLIS researchers, including those contracted directly by the BIOPOLIS project and associated matching structural funds, those transferred from ICETA-CIBIO (T2.4) and those supported by other public (FCT) or private funding (e.g., Invited Chairs) sources, thereby creating equal opportunities across the overall BIOPOLIS community of young researchers. Contracts made directly through BIOPOLIS will be short-term (typically 3 years), and they will involve recruitment processes following the best practice and guidelines established under The European Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers. Recruitment will be based on international, open, merit-based processes, with independent selection committees including experienced research staff of BIOPOLIS and UM, with calls and selection processes after the recruitment of research staff. The profiles for the positions will be prepared by the RUs, with the aim of creating inter-disciplinary teams and promoting new ideas through cross- fertilization among researchers with a range of perspectives and backgrounds. A total of 24 post-doctoral researchers will start to be enrolled in the programme on the 3rd year of the project. Thereafter, 12 postdoctoral researchers will be enrolled per year. Post-doctoral researchers will be supervised by BIOPOLIS and/or UM researchers, as well as top-level researchers from other research institutions worldwide. Post-docs may be involved in research projects of their supervisors, taking responsibility for developing key practical tasks.They will typically spend up to 3-6 months per year in UM labs, to receive training and to participate in collaborative research projects. Training will have strong components directly related to enhancing scientific potential, but also a strong component of transferable skills that are expected to foster career development opportunities, including interpersonal, organization, leadership, and communication skills. Particular attention will be given to training on innovation, knowledge transfer, and intellectual property rights. Training may include temporary placement in business corporations and bodies of the public administration committed to the programme. Post-docs will be given the opportunity to attend regularly international conferences and workshops.
5.4. Creation and Management of an Advanced Training and Continuous Development Programme
Under this task, BIOPOLIS will set up a comprehensive Programme of Advanced Training and Continuous Development, with internal and external components. The internal component will focus on BIOPOLIS staff and students, assuring their continuous training and updating, as well as supporting the PhD and Post-Doctoral Programmes. The external component will target on other groups such as technicians from private corporations, the public administration and NGOs, school teachers, researchers from other institutions, among others. The task will upgrade similar activities developed over the past decade at ICETA-CIBIO, but consolidating and greatly expanding these activities, with major inputs from UM. The general themes and calendar of the activities will be established in the Education and Training Strategy, and at the end of each year a detailed programme of activities will be prepared for the next year. The Programme will be developed in close liaison with the Human Resources Officer(s), the SC and the RUs, and will be based on the organization of regular courses and workshops, covering the different facets of professional development and scientific activity. At least the following training opportunities will be provided:
Summer schools. Starting on the 3rd year, BIOPOLIS will organise annually a summer school focusing on an emerging theme of research or innovation, and with a strong potential for enhancing the capacity of the CoE. The summer schools will be organised in close collaboration with UM and its researchers. Each School will last for about one week, involving theoretical and practical lectures. The main targets are Post-doctoral and other researchers, and they should contribute for significant advances in mastering new concepts, tools and approaches.
Short scientific and technical courses and workshops. Starting on the 2nd year, these courses will take about 1-3 days, and they will focus on specialised scientific and technical matters suited for researchers at different stages of career development. They will be organised in collaboration with UM and other leading research centres, generally involving face-to-face lectures and practical classes. Part of these courses can be taken by PhD students as part of their training programmes.
Transferable Skills and Career Development Courses. Starting on the 3rd year, there will be at least 1 course per year dealing with transferable skills and career development. These courses are mainly targeted at PhD students finishing their thesis and post-doctoral researchers, but they will be generally open to the staff of BIOPOLIS. The aim is to enhance the prospects of career development for early-stage researchers, by providing training on important transferable skills such as interpersonal, organization, leadership, and communication skills.
Soft skills training for researchers. Like the transferable skills, these courses will focus on matters that are essential to the career development of researchers, though they generally involve skills not directly related to a scientific area of expertise. The courses can be taken by researchers at different stages of career, but they will be primarily directed to early-career researchers. There will be up to 3 courses per year, covering themes such as paper and grant writing, poster design and presentation, oral presentation skills, knowledge transfer and IP rights, project management, creative thinking, among others.
Entrepreneurial training for researchers. These courses will be organized by PBS partner, and will focus on providing acquaintance to the mindset and skills normally mastered in the business-world. The courses can be taken by researchers at different stages of career, but they will be primarily directed to early-career researchers. There will be up to 2 courses per year, covering themes such as opportunity-driven entrepreneurship, venture capital attraction, starting a business based in an innovative service or tool, knowledge transfer and IP rights, business management, creative thinking, among others.
5.5. Monitoring and Evaluation of the Education and Training Programmes
This task involves the monitoring and evaluation of the Education and Training Programmes. Enquiries will be made to those involved in the Programmes, evaluating the levels of satisfaction and requesting suggestions for improvement. Enquiries will provide the basis to prepare reviews, which will be used to make the changes required to increase cost-effectiveness and levels of satisfaction. In the 4rd year the Education and Training Strategy will be reviewed and adjusted to meet new challenges.
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