‘My Marie Curie fellowship helped me acquire technical skills for my projects and obtain the required accreditation for professorship in France. It is a rewarding process which has strengthened my career lwith a strong international networking, exposure and skills development.’
Born in Lebanon, Aksam is a French-American researcher, who benefitted from a Marie Curie grant to return to Europe and continue his research on atherosclerosis, a progressive condition involving a hardening of the arteries which often leads to heart disease. High cholesterol and ageing are two of the main causes of atherosclerosis, but thanks to Aksam, Marie Curie Actions and a healthy diet, European citizens could have a treatment available sooner than expected.
‘The huge prestige of Marie Curie Actions across Europe and excellent economic conditions motivated my application. They facilitated my mobility from Madrid to London and gave me the opportunity to establish a large network of international collaborations which may definitely enhance my professional aspirations.’
With the recent influenza pandemic in Western Europe, it is essential for health care services to be able to cope with seasonal peaks of several types of viruses. With the help of the Marie Curie Actions, Armando is doing innovative research on a probiotic approach towards control of large scale pathogens. Probiotics are live micro-organisms thought to be beneficial to host organisms. They are used in prevention to strengthen the immune system.
‘I had a short break in my career to give birth to my son and this prestigious fellowship greatly facilitated resuming my research career and achieving an appropriate work/life balance.’
Claire works on signalling pathways implicated in cancer, inflammation and diabetes, but right after her son was born, she was above all very happy to be a Marie Curie Actions fellow: on top of very attractive salaries for researchers, the programme makes it easier to resume a career after any type of break. Cancer and diabetes are the first two causes of mortality in Europe, so it is essential to keep the brightest researchers on the case. This is one of the objectives of the Marie Curie Actions.
‘During my Marie Curie fellowship I learnt how new technologies can impact upon our everyday life through innovation, for example in the treatment and cure of cancer. And the grant also helped me discover new reasons to enjoy science!’
Caterina’s research project is about cancer treatment. Her multidisciplinary project proposes a novel drug delivery approach based on highly engineered nano-materials. Thanks to Marie Curie Actions, Caterina has received multidisciplinary scientific training combining medical research with innovation technologies and thereby an exceptional opportunity to attain professional maturity.
‘My Marie Curie Actions Reintegration Grant covers my research costs and it allows me to develop personal projects while integrating in a research team already in place. The grant also made it possible for me to carry out my research in excellent working conditions.’
Claire is a brain specialist and she wondered: ‘Does our conscious perception of an external object arise gradually or in a discontinuous fashion? Marie Curie Actions cover all topics of research, thus appealing to researchers in all fields. And with more than 60 000 fellows funded since 1996, the chances are that you have already been in contact with the programme one way or the other. Gradually or in a discontinuous fashion.
‘At the end of my PhD it was clear to me that it was essential to make my CV more competitive to find an independent research position in the future. I applied for a MCA long-term fellowship to complement an EMBO fellowship, which allowed me publish in a high impact journal.’
Claudia is trying to elucidate molecular mechanisms on sorting events occurring in endosomal membranes, inside eukaryotic mammalian cells. Try not to worry too much if you do not understand the previous sentence: Marie Curie Actions are making sure that we leave the work to brilliant researchers like Claudia.
‘The Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant represents a prestigious type of funding and it undoubtedly helped in further supporting the evolution of my career from post-doctoral scientist to independent principal investigator and research team leader.’
Daniela works on the mechanisms leading to the development of obesity, one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century in Europe. Thanks to her Marie Curie fellowship, she was able to set up her own laboratory and also developed management skills as she is currently leading eleven talented people. Daniela is particularly keen on bringing her expertise to private partners and her ideas closer to the market.
‘After obtaining a PhD in computer science and having worked in the telecommunication industry, the Marie Curie Actions Intra-European Fellowship gave me the opportunity to gain a truly interdisciplinary, pure research experience in theoretical nanoscience.’
Europe gave birth to the GSM communication networks standard back in the 1980s. Today, information and communication technology is growing fast and the experimental research of women like Dessislava is essential if Europe wants to come up with ground-breaking solutions, like nanonetworks and nanocommunication.
‘The prestigious Marie Curie grant allows me to learn new techniques and will add valuable publications to my CV. I am confident that my improved professional profile will open new opportunities in the competitive scientific job market.’
Elke tries to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms that induce hunger and ‘full – ness’ with a view to preventing and treating obesity, a condition that has now reached the status of an epidemic in Europe and beyond. Also, Elke’ s research will investigate ways to facilitate body weight loss.
‘The Marie Curie Actions fellowship provided me with a unique opportunity to develop my skills as a molecular microbiologist, especially due to the application of modern genetic approaches.’
Esmeralda is doing research at the forefront of microbial genetics. She studies the emergence of hyper-virulent strains of bacteria at the origin of outbreaks of diarrhoea in hospitals worldwide. This common complication of hospitalisation claims thousands of victims every year. Marie Curie Actions fund all types of research topics, from genetics to human science. Because investing in research is investing in our future.
‘The Marie Curie Actions grant played a crucial part in achieving my long term goals of a career in academic public health and contribution to the growing field of chronic disease management.’
Eszter works on diabetes. Patients with diabetes are subject to vascular events and other adverse outcomes. The ultimate objective of her research is to translate knowledge gained from epidemiological studies into preventive action and evaluate different preventive approaches in chronic disease management.
‘I applied for a Marie Curie Actions fellowship because of the enormous prestige of being a Marie Curie fellow. Today, this grant has already taught me many things, not only related with science, but also with people and culture.’
Federico is an Argentinean geologist and has spent two years in Europe followed by one year in his home country, carrying out a project which combined numerical and geophysical ap proaches. In today’s world, research needs to be done across borders and sectors. The presence of Federico in Europe will help strengthen these essential links.
‘During my Marie Curie grant, I learnt new techniques and methods, I got involved in interesting side projects establishing new collaborators, and importantly I increased my publication record. Moreover, all the process of application, management and reporting allowed me to learn a bit more about research funding and the process of grant developing and writing.’
The Marie Curie Actions not only broaden career perspectives, they also equip researchers with other skills such as writing applications, patenting and marketing products and services. These are not always covered during doctoral training, but they are essential in an economy where new ideas need to be as close to the market as possible.
‘This project provided me with the right conditions to perform first class research in an extremely stimulating project and environment. Never before did I have the opportunity to work in an institute with such strong expertise in my areas of interest.’
Fernanda is doing research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative genetic disease that damages muscles. DMD patients seldom survive past the age of forty. The project of Fernanda proposes to set up a multidisciplinary international team to study gene therapy. Because looking across sectors and borders is usually a good way to move forward.
‘The Marie Curie fellowship helped me acquire a position of professional maturity in my research area. So I see it as a fundamental step in the progression of my academic career.’
Francesco works on the logic-based languages used to describe multi-agent systems. Even if this sounds very complicated, this field of research has applications in web services, robotics, avionics and economics. This is what innovation is about: bringing great complex ideas to the general public. Exactly what Marie Curie Actions are about.
‘My Marie Curie fellowship has so far allowed me to choose a research topic to which I had had no previous exposure, but which I was fully scientifically ready to tackle, and to start making my own way towards producing original results.’
In his research, Ignacio revisits Darwin’s theory of evolution, mixing mathematics, statistical physics and biology to gain a better understanding of all the elements at play in evolution. This innovative approach represents a paradigm shift in the field and will most certainly help designing the ecological solutions of tomorrow.
‘Thanks to the wide range of resources available – both from the Marie Curie fellowship and the institution – and the breadth of interests represented by my supervisors, I knew I would be guided into a successful career as independent investigator.’
Isabel is carrying out a research project in the field of eating disorders. She uses an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to study genetic, behavioural and cultural aspects of this increasing societal problem. This innovative and excellent approach means that she will emerge with a deep understanding of eating disorders as well as new skills.
‘The Marie Curie Actions fellowship does not only help me to define myself as a distinguished specialist, it will also enable me to establish my own research group in the near future and develop excellent cooperation with worldleading research institutions.’
Janos’ career in research began in Budapest, and then continued in Japan and in Singapore. The Marie Curie Actions helped him come back to Europe, where he now spends time understanding the factors underlying public perceptions of sensitive technologies – technologies whose implications intersect with social values and challenge presumptions about the natural order and life.
‘Upon completion of my PhD in Denmark, I wanted to further build on my knowledge and experience in synthetic organic chemistry. The Marie Curie fellowship gave me the chance to work on an exciting research project with potential applications in the treatment of allergic disorders. As an added bonus, this would also bring me closer to my girlfriend who lives in London.’
Because doing excellent research means living in an excellent environment, Marie Curie Actions allow their fellows to integrate their private and professional lives. This is fitting for Jimmy, who works on a new series of small drug-like molecules based on natural products for potential anti-asthma/allergy therapeutic applications. Improving the life of allergy sufferers.
‘The Marie Curie fellowship gave me a real chance to learn new scientific techniques, in my case, running fluid dynamic experiments. The benefits of the grant are simply that I am now working in a new country with new people and new challenges.’
John is working on the formation of cratonic basins and how it relates directly to the wider question of long-term stability of continental platforms. Marie Curie Actions fund all topics of research, from economics to mathematics and plate tectonics. This approach means that all fields are covered by the most innovative and excellent brains in Europe and beyond.
‘Applying for my own research funding was an important step for my research career. Having completed one postdoctoral position already, I needed to be able to demonstrate my potential to attract research funding. The Marie Curie fellowship was an excellent opportunity to do this and they substantially increased the likelihood of both future funding and a permanent research position down the line.'
John works on visual crowding, the disruptive effect of ‘clutter’ on our ability to recognise objects, despite their being identifiable in isolation (the more you see, the less you see). He uses psychophysical experiments and computational modelling to explore new aspects of visual crowding. His work will help design effective artificial vision. And spot Wally.
‘The Marie Curie Actions grant helped me enter more deeply into the philosophical research areas that I have specialized in and gave me the opportunity to form new research collaborations.’
Marie Curie Actions fund all fields of research, including social sciences, allowing them to tackle all the grand challenges of tomorrow, as identified in the Europe 2020 strategy. Among them is climate change. Karin is actually working on the philosophical approach to climate change. What solutions does our society need to find? How can we implement them in an ever-changing environment?
‘The Marie Curie Actions Intra- European Fellowship was on top of my priority list of fellowships due to its prestige, attractive mobility allowances as well as the networking and support benefits it proposes.’
Keira’s research will further our understanding of a bacterium that can cause meningitis (a bacterial infection of the brain). The Marie Curie Actions finance hundreds of projects on public health issues. The prestige of Marie Curie fellowships and the autonomy given to researchers both underpin their success. The grants cover conference costs and their travel expenses, enabling fellows to attend key conferences and interact with their peers.
‘I applied for a Marie Curie fellowship a few months after I defended my thesis. I was working on fundamental aspects of the physics of materials, investigating how materials break, from the atomic to the macroscopic scale. This study inspired me many ideas on how to design stronger materials.’
Today, Laurent works at the California Institute of Technology, an exceptional scientific environment where he was offered the material and intellectual means to develop his project successfully, among the founding fathers of Fracture Mechanics. Marie Curie Actions allow the best researchers to carry out projects in the most prestigious research institutions. Just like Laurent at CalTech.
‘Now, it is my turn to attract in my new group a highly qualified researcher, also eligible for a Marie Curie fellowship. I’m looking forward to taking my next step as a group leader and I really want to thank Marie Curie Actions for this.’
After a first post-doctoral fellowship in France, Lionel decided to pursue his training in a specific laboratory in London leading in cancer immunotherapies. Thanks to the Marie Curie grant abroad, he now holds a position of research group leader in his home country. Further practical proof that mobility works in research. Just like with Marie Curie Actions.
‘The Marie Curie Actions fellowship gave me the scientific and financial independence to achieve this project and provided me with enough resources and flexibility to convince me that the move could work not only for my career, but also for my family.’
Climate change is a concern for many European citizens. Lisa is working hard to gain a better understanding of various aspects of the problem, notably on underground storage of carbon and CO2 gas. Thanks to the Marie Curie Actions she was able to move with her family from one country to the other. Moreover, the fellowship helped Lisa get a permanent position in her host institution. Marie Curie Actions promote excellent employment conditions for researchers with permanent contracts.
‘The Marie Curie fellowship is an important opportunity to develop my research on visual studies and on semiotic-social meanings of images: modernity and advertising poster in Paris at the beginning of 20th century.’
Marie Curie Actions cover all topics of research like, in the case of Luca, important aspects of European identity through the study of posters in Paris as ‘social events’. He uses these images as a source of documentation of social practices. These defined the future evolution of advertising, with influences still visible today. It was as innovative back then as Luca is today.
‘When I read that my Marie Curie project was accepted, I felt like opening the window of my room and enjoying that fantastic spring day. The first thing I did was to call my mother and my family to tell them the great news.’
Maria works on gene therapy to treat cases of liver failure. She was originally denied the opportunity to carry on her research on the topic, but the Marie Curie grant made it possible for her to obtain funding in an elite institution. The project impacted directly upon a number of inter-related disciplines which provided her with the opportunity to develop skills in relation to research management, presentation, and questions on ethics.
‘Thanks to the Marie Curie Actions, working under a “standard contract” including all social insurances gives me the security I need to concentrate on my research and even allowed me to bring my family to such a fascinating place like the British capital. This would not have been possible with other less generous funding schemes.’
Markus works on neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Focal Hand Dystonia. Parkinson’s disease alone affect 2 % of the 50 year old and plus population. To gain a better understanding of the complex phenomena at play in these diseases, he needs access to facilities, funding and his loved ones. Marie Curie Actions allowed him to have exactly that.
‘The Marie Curie fellowship is very attractive because it is based on merit and genuinely promotes excellence, which grants researchers with a prominent status at the European and international level. Also, it provides the necessary conditions to develop an indepth research. Third, the basic concept of mobility pushes the researcher to broaden his intellectual horizon and to acquire a truly European and international mindset.’
Ottavio works on the legal issues regarding private security companies, which sell security services like armed guards, criminal investigation or alarm systems. Over the past decade, the activity of these companies has been constantly increasing, notably during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. His research studies the regulatory network currently in place for private security companies, examining possible reforms.
‘I decided to apply for a Marie Curie fellowship because they are very prestigious and I knew they would give me the possibility to carry on my own research project independently. Also, it improved considerably my quality of life as it pays very well which is particularly important in a city like London.’
Olga is doing research on cellular pathways which will most probably be linked to neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Thanks to the European grant, she was able to carry out her work in London. This move would have been very hard without Marie Curie Actions, which focus on mobility and training of the most excellent researchers in the world.
‘Th e Marie Curie fellowship helped me improve my scientifi c skills and reach professional maturity. It allowed me to make decisions concerning the experimental approaches but also the project administration. Th e grant also gave me the opportunity to discover diff erent ways to lead a scientifi c group and establish collaborations for my next professional projects.’
Pilar will surely benefit from the European support from a professional point of view, but the mobility dimension of the programme will also allow her to improve her knowledge of a foreign language and to meet new people with different cultures, customs and way of thinking. Her study on epigenetic mechanisms of plants could have some applications for agriculture with higher crop productivity by improving plant resistance to drought or salt for instance.
‘When I applied to a Marie Curie programme, I did not have the faintest idea of the fantastic experience I would have for the next three years! I have always been interested in research and being from South Africa, the opportunity to come to Europe – to a whole different world in terms of science and research – was a dream come true.’
Raelize is part of a research training project combining institutions from Europe and beyond. It focuses on developing the transport infrastructures of tomorrow, to meet the targets for European competitiveness and to design processes that will deliver cheap and sustainable transport. Marie Curie Actions are at the core of training the next generation of PhD candidates.
‘After more than three years working as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, I started looking for opportunities to relocate to Europe in the best conditions possible. I realized that a Marie Curie grant would provide my projects with substantial momentum given the large flexibility the funding allows in using the money.’
Romain is a great example of what Europe needs in terms of research. He did a post-doctoral fellowship in Harvard and applied for a Marie Curie reintegration grant after he decided to relocate to France. There, he developed collaborations with other European labs before obtaining a permanent position in CNRS. He then received a grant from the European Research Council, but that is the next part of his story.
‘I am living a dream that comes true again every single day. The Marie Curie fellowship has put me in a stimulating environment with outstanding researchers, which is most likely to facilitate my scientific production. Thus I can extend the record of my papers by a considerable amount, both in qualitative and in quantitative terms, and achieve standards of definite excellence.’
Salvo works on mathematical models for technological devices such as satellites, antennas and medical imaging setups. Marie Curie allowed this highly-skilled researcher to work in the best environment possible, take on new challenges and cross unexplored frontiers. To remain competitive, Europe needs to invest 3 % of its wealth in research. And in excellent researchers like Salvo.
‘I decided to apply for a Marie Curie fellowship mainly because I wanted to experience a different research environment and extend my research network. I think it is really important for researchers to have experience at various institutions and in different countries, as each of them has a different research culture.’
Sarah’s quote means a lot, since she works on the European Union’s asylum and migration policy, within the European agencies in charge of these topics. Marie Curie Actions fund any domain of research, including social sciences. Thanks to talented people like Sarah, Europe will benefit from a set of relevant findings in policy-making fields.
‘When I started to prepare my Marie Curie fellowship application, I felt it could represent a unique opportunity, not only for the development of my scientific career but also for my life in general. It allowed me to choose my ideal research group, explore my own ideas and acquire and develop the skills and tools for my career as an independent scientist.’
Tiago is doing research on patient response to cancer treatment. Europe has decided to put health and well-being at the centre of its political agenda for the years to come. Marie Curie Actions is one of the tools to work on the problem, relying on excellent researchers like Tiago.
‘My time as a Marie Curie fellow has been a highlight of my post-doctoral experience. The fellowship has lived up to its reputation and my greatest expectations. My time as a post-doctoral fellow has enabled me to acquire additional expertise in areas which will be critical to my future research endeavours.’
Vanessa is the perfect example of a Marie Curie fellow. Working on health issues, she managed to obtain two Marie Curie grants; one to carry out her research abroad and one to establish herself later in her career. Her excellence has taken her across continents, from France to the USA and back, with stops in Canada and Japan, the country where she was born. Today, she is thinking about involving international industry partners in her work.
‘After a two-year post-doctoral training period in Mexico, the Marie Curie fellowship represented the best option to reintegrate the European research environment within optimal working conditions: a good salary, a renowned host institute and a significant amount of funding for travelling, which would allow me to communicate on my work and to develop new collaborations.’
Véronique is a researcher in astrophysics. Her work will help us better understand the distant Universe. But before she can do so, she needs to find a place in a lab, build her own networks and increase her visibility. This is a small price to pay for such an ambitious objective. Marie Curie Actions are here to support bright minds exactly like hers.
‘Studying physics and work on science is my biggest childhood dream. The Marie Curie Actions represent one of the best opportunities I had to make it come true. Because it allowed me to choose the place and the collaborators I prefer. In other words, this means working exactly the way I wanted to.’
Vincenzo works on the fairly complicated concept of quantum physics: metamaterials. These artificial materials have properties that may not be found in nature, with potential applications in fields like cloaking and optical devices. Metamaterials will hopefully one day have an impact on the everyday life of European citizens. Marie Curie Actions let him grapple with his research by giving him the environment he needs to do so.
‘After of my PhD, I wanted to go further in academic research and go abroad to improve my foreign language skills and acquire professional experience there. In that framework, the Marie Curie grant gave me the opportunity to develop my own research project with a large degree of autonomy.’
Xavier undertakes research on the nervous system. He wanted to travel, discover new cultures and new ways to carry out research. He also needed independence in his work and to be released from the burden of looking for funding while dealing with tight deadlines. Marie Curie Actions were ideal for him.
‘I am a researcher in computational fluid dynamics from Tianjin University, China. As my objective was mainly to collaborate with Europe’s most outstanding experts, the prestigious Marie Curie grant was a precious opportunity for me. I believe my research experience through this MCA grant will build up a solid foundation for my life-long research career.’
Because the brightest ideas come from mixing the brightest minds from all over the world, Marie Curie Actions were glad to bring excellent talents like Xu Dong to Europe.