New research opportunities open at University of Verona

The EU-funded INVITE project has boosted the profile of the University of Verona and is helping it to attract international research students.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


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Published: 12 July 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Human resources & mobilityCareers & mobility  |  Marie Curie Actions  |  Training
Research infrastructures
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Italy
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New research opportunities open at University of Verona

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© Yasonya #121673247, source: stock.adobe.com 2019

Across the EU, some universities benefit from a long-established, global reputation that acts as a magnet for potential students. Other institutions, though, are less well-known internationally, even though their teaching and research standards may be high.

To begin to bridge the international reputation gap, the University of Verona in Italy is leading an EU-funded programme called INVITE, which aims to attract international PhD students in a wide range of disciplines to study there.

‘The University of Verona ranks high for its doctoral programme within Italy, but this potential has not been grasped at international level,’ says Mario Pezzotti, INVITE project coordinator and delegate to research of the University of Verona. ‘We have attracted students from some non-EU countries, but PhD candidates and students from other EU countries are still in the minority.’

From science to economics

Under the INVITE project, the university opened up 14 PhD positions to early stage researchers in natural and engineering sciences, life and health sciences, the humanities, law and economics in early 2018. It then carried out an intense communication campaign worldwide on social media and in scientific journals to improve promotion of the research opportunities it offers.

The project’s activities resulted in 955 applications for the 14 positions in 2018-2019. The previous year’s call received a total of 723 applications for 100 positions. The doctoral programme for the 14 students started in October 2018, and they are due to complete their training in three years.

INVITE improved the call procedures by aligning them with the European Charter for Researchers, the European Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, and the Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training. University staff also introduced pro-active support for applicants and drafted a series of frequently asked questions and a handbook for students.

The project also helped the university make its PhD programmes more attractive by integrating training courses on transferrable skills, supporting the secondment of PhD students both to companies in the Veneto region and to universities abroad, providing training in ethics and gender neutrality, grant writing, project management and showing students how to make the most of their research results.

In addition, the project is planning to set up a counselling service to help INVITE PhD students plan their careers, in academic or non-academic sectors, while improving their employability.

‘Our goal is to attract and train a new generation of talented international fellows in a wide range of disciplines and to provide them with the ability to establish professional collaborations with academic institutions and the private sector in Italy and in Europe. We hope the students enjoy their experience and it would be a great pleasure should they decide to stay on to find a job in Italy,’ says Pezzotti.

Regional innovation

INVITE also aims to boost innovation in the Veneto region by connecting researchers with local businesses. According to the European Commission’s Regional Innovation Scoreboard, in 2014 Veneto was classed a ‘moderate’ innovator, which means it performs below the EU average on all indicators – and its performance has not changed since 2004. To tackle this, the Regione del Veneto has drafted a strategy for ‘attraction and qualification of human resources in research and investment’, of which the INVITE project is part.

The project has received funding via the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme.

Project details

  • Project acronym: INVITE
  • Participants: Italy (Coordinator)
  • Project N°: 754345
  • Total costs: € 2 197 440
  • EU contribution: € 1 098 720
  • Duration: October 2017 to September 2022

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