Marie Curie individual fellowship applications can be offered as a Job?

What if “Nature Jobs” or “Euraxess” would publish this Job offer from an academic institution: “Hey, I need help moving to my new apartment! Well, I don’t have the apartment yet… but if you could find the apartment and rent the moving truck… that would be great. And.. by the way, you should be really qualified, interested, and with at least 3 references“.

Apparently this is happening with “Marie Curie Individual Fellowships“, and it’s a higly diffused habit. Just go on Nature Jobs and search marie curie, you will see what I mean.

Marie Curie fellowships (IF) are European actions which aim to promote innovation and research in different research fields. The IF support individual researchers at postdoctoral level and beyond to work on a research project OF THEIR OWN DESIGN.

The individual researcher has to take contact with the hosting institution and together with the supervisor decide the best strategy to write the proposal. In the creative process of a new project, it’s of course difficult to establish the paternity of ideas, as they naturally come from the positive interactions between people.

In this case, research groups looking for funding are saying: “Hey We Already have the Project! We just need to select the right candidate“.

Am I wrong in saying: “This is against the European Commision ideas behind IF-Marie Curie“?

The contact between the individual researcher and the hosting group needs to run on different channels, like: dedicated websites, common research interests, conferences and so on.

Nature Jobs” and “Jobs Euraxess” cannot publish these offers like “Job Offers“, because they are indeed “Collaboration Request

A research institute should be able to attract scientists to apply for this kind of funding and not offer “Jobs“, which are not yet there.


Challenge accepted: Learning Lithuanian…

Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_BabelI have been told once: “Sometimes, it’s best to shoot on sight and ask questions after.” In my Marie-Curie Project I wrote that I’ll spend 3 months in Lithuania, next year, to work on thermodynamics, a field in which I am totally an outsider. Still… I am quite confident that I will sort out something. On the other hand, I have much more doubts on the fact that I’ll ever be able to communicate in Lithuanian… not that I would really need for my job, but if I’ll stay there 3 months, I want fully immerse myself in this culture.

Sometimes ago, I heard about an italian guy opening a startup on a new-based system to learn languanges. If I well understood, it works predicting words you could already know, by similarity with your native language,  by particular interests you have, re-directing you on text, videos, articles, etc. already present in the net, at your specific level.

Bliu Bliu (that’s the name of the website), recently called for an Online challenge to learn Lithuanian in 30 days with their system. Now.. I am not so skilled in languages, and I have so much work to do this period… but they look very sure of their methods, and for me could be an interesting start for my future staying in Vilnius, whatever the result will be… therefore my dears:


Along Came Marie… Curie!

marie-curieOnce passed the barrier of discouragement that plague any researcher-aspirant-academic which risk to become, the most educated fries-fryer of Mc Donald’s Restaurants; it is possible to reach the Nirvana, the Hakuna Matata status.

You don’t feel anymore anxious about the future, because future will come anyway… and It doesn’t worry about you. I decided to be happy in any case, whatever will be the turn of my career.  I am the luckyest man on earth! I am healthy, I have a wife (very soon),  a family, friends, and the most beautiful fluffy Cat.  I am going to work every day  happy, as a non-permanent, without perspective, Post-doc, because curiosity is driven me. I know, it will perhaps come the day, I will have to do a job which I don’t like, but this is not a reason to don’t appreciate today’s life.

Applying for many jobs, I finally realized that the most important thing is to understand  if the values of the company, of the project, of the job profile you are interested in, are in line with yours. If not, it’s not a good deal.

After all, I believe in Progress, in a borderless Europe, in fundamental research. So, with this spirit, I decided to write a project Marie Curie! For non-specialist,  Marie Curie fellowships (in my case an Individual Fellowship, IF) are European actions which aim to promote innovation and research in different research fields. The IF support individual researchers at postdoctoral level and beyond to work on a research project of their own design. Mobility between countries is required in order to acquire new skills and experience, as well as to enhance the employability of the supported researcher in the future.

Write the project it’s honestly not easy, but it was exciting. You feel the idea inside growing. It might not work, it might be a failure, but there is no innovation without risk… and the first task is to convince other people, supervisors, collaborators, university administrations, that the idea is good. It’s worth a try. I had to contact experts in different topics saying “Good morning, you don’t know me (basically nobody knows me), but I have this idea, are you interested for a collaboration?” I was really lucky because I met open-minded and really helpful people, which took their time and listened me, giving me plenty of good suggestions.

It was a lot of work and I was aware that the success rate for Marie-Curie actions are pretty low, but I started to like so much the idea, that I considered participate already a success.

I got finally a positive answer, and soon I’ll start a new adventure. The adventure of an Italian, working between France and Lithuania, exploring the edge between synthetic organic chemistry, thermodynamics and biology. Marie Curie actions, however, are not only about research, as I committed myself to Science divulgation, to implement my transferable skills (management, communication, intellectual properties… and of course french language!).

Therefore, from now on, in my blog, I’ll keep in the category “Scientia“, all my impressions,  my progress and failures, during the next 2-years of this Marie Curie Action.

Did I already mention that I have the most beautifu fluffy Cat?