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Face-to-face events to exchange expertise

Information on projects funded by Marie Curie Conferences and Training Courses can be found using the "Marie Curie Funding Opportunities Search Tool" on CORDIS.


ERICE 2002
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A crystal clear career opportunity

Crystallography is a technique used to investigate the structure of condensed matter. It helps scientists to understand how life works at atomic and molecular level and has many useful applications – for example, it can be used to develop new, innovative medicines, to measure the hardness of diamonds, and to assess the behaviour of plastic material, etc. For two weeks each summer, key figures from the world of crystallography and related scientific fields gather in the historic Sicilian mountain town of Erice to discuss the latest research, to exchange ideas and to forge future collaboration.

The International School of Crystallography, now in its 29th year, is also open to promising PhD students and young post-docs. Since 1997, Marie Curie funding has allowed 15 to 20 future crystallographers to take part each year. “Given the interdisciplinary character of each event, this is unique opportunity to bring together scientists and students who would otherwise never meet,” explains organiser, Professor Paola Spadon. “Each year we get twice to three times as many applications as places available. The successful students are guaranteed an intensive learning experience that they are unlikely to get anywhere else. In my experience, it helps to boost their chances of a successful academic or industrial career.”


Jolanta PaukA learning experience

The EU's High-Level Scientific Conferences programme gave Jolanta Pauk from Bialystok in Poland the chance to study human locomotion in Udine and Milan, and to exhibit at the poster session at a bioengineering congress in Rome in October 2001. "It was a wonderful course for me, and I learnt a lot. The main problem we have in Poland is that equipment is so expensive that we do not have good laboratories. The European support meant I could visit labs abroad, and exchange information with other specialists," she says.


From friendship to research co-operation

Dr. Bob Moon from the University of Nottingham in the UK is a regular at Marie Curie summer schools organised by the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA). Since 1998, he has attended four schools looking at the underlying scientific and technological applications of the power metallurgy process - used mainly in the manufacture of engineering components for the car industry and in the design of materials to meet specific requirements.

EPMA Course

In total 210 young scientists and researchers from 17 EU Member and Associated States took part in the week-long programmes in Dresden (1998), Gothenburg (1999), San Sebastian (2001) and Vienna (2002). Some 153 participants were funded under the Marie Curie scheme.

Dr. Moon believes the over-riding benefit of the summer school programme is that they allow young engineers and scientists from different parts of Europe to enhance their technical training, to learn from world-class experts and to meet each other.

"This last aspect is the one that holds out the most hope for the future. Friendships have been made that are leading to co-operations on research programmes and industrial practice between people who met for the first time at the summer schools," he says. "Without EU funding it would not have been possible to hold events of this nature. It allowed the EPMA to encourage participation by young researchers who would not normally have been able to raise the full costs of the school."


Dr. Mark HuyseLearning from the experts

Dr. Mark Huyse from the University of Leuven in Belgium has more experience than most organising Marie Curie summer schools. Last September, in the French village of Les Houches, he organised his ninth gathering on the subject of exotic beams in nuclear physics for a group of young PhD students. The Marie Curie grant funded 50 researchers to attend the nine-day event. "This is an ideal place for young researchers to hear from international experts working in the field and to network with others carrying out similar research. We have now established an active network of former participants who can offer advice to researchers on their science and their careers."


Professor Ulrike DieboldPassing on expertise

Ulrike Diebold left Austria a decade ago to take up a post as an Associate Professor or Physics at Tulane University in New Orleans, specialising in advanced computational techniques in theoretical materials science. So she was very pleased by the EU invitation to a high-level conference on the computer simulation of complex interfaces. "Society gets good value from events like this, because very basic research has all sorts of useful applications," she says. "The smooth organisation really stands out, and this allows the chairperson to concentrate on putting together a first-class scientific programme."


Professor Eddy Van DoorslaerChance to present research findings

Eddy Van Doorslaer, econometrics professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, is a regular attender at the annual Euroconference on Health Economic and Econometrics. "The organisers achieve a very good balance. They include a few keynote speakers, but for the bulk of the contributors, papers are chosen competitively, while some young PhD students are presenting their results for the first time. This work is so fundamental that finding commercial funding is not possible," he says.

last update: 28-01-2005