External Impact Assessment Report 2015

 

External Impact Assessment Report - DTU COFUND 2015

The DTU COFUND PostDoc programme has been evaluated in 2015 by the external consultancy Innovayt. You can download the full report here. 

 

Key findings and Recommendations in the report:

After a careful analysis of the COFUNDPostdocDTU programme it was possible to draw some key conclusions regarding its impact, as well as elaborate on the main recommendations towards an improvement of the programme in the future. The key findings can be summarized in the following:

  • A significant increase has been verified in the number of applicants, when compared with the HCØ programme – the number of eligible applications has increased between 2-3 times.

     

  • The number of applicants outside the EU has more than doubled in 2014 and 2015, which shows a great impact of the new COFUNDPostdocDTU programme in terms of mobility at European and international level.

     

  • A substantial improvement regarding the number and duration of the PostDoc fellowships has been verified – the new programme has almost tripled the fellowship man-months per call.

     

  • In the new programme it has increased the number of fellowships awarded to female applicants.

     

    Moreover, the application and selection process has been improved with increased transparency regarding the evaluation criteria and a two-step review process, where the applicants also have the opportunity to write a rebuttal after receiving their evaluation report. This improved process ensured the selection of high quality fellows – as demonstrated by the awarded high scores.

    The COFUNDPostdocDTU fellows were also asked to make an assessment of the impact of the programme through a questionnaire specifically created for that purpose. Overall, most of the fellows have recognized the positive impact of the programme on expanding their scientific skills and on their ability to independent research. Despite being a bit early to evaluate the impact of the new programme on their careers, the majority of the fellows have given a positive feedback in this regards. However, in the future, it would be very important to assess the impact of the COFUND programme in terms of employment opportunities – which was not possible at this early stage. In addition, the publications resulting from the work funded by the COFUNDPostdocDTU programme should be also measured in a further stage, since these will provide a good overview of the impact of the programme.

    From the questionnaire that was sent out to the COFUND fellows it was also possible to conclude that the programme: (1) has responded well to the demands and expectations of the fellows; (2) has been helpful to expand the fellows’ personal research networks; (3) didn’t have a great impact in terms of interactions and cooperation with industry and, also for this reason, (4) most of the fellows were interested in having a secondment in industry during their PostDoc project.

    Finally, we recommend the present report to be used as a tool to evaluate the viability and potential to continue with the COFUNDPostdocDTU programme through a new grant application in 2015. It can also be used as a basis for future improvements or modifications to the DTU PostDoc programme. Some of the already foreseen possible modifications and improvements – drawn from the analysis of this report – include:

     

  • Number of fellowships awarded. Given the increasing number of applicants of high quality, we recommend increasing the number of offered fellowships.

     

  • Industrial secondment. Include a secondment in industry, where relevant, as part of the fellowship in order for the fellows to develop skills inside & outside academia that respond to public / private sector needs.

     

  • Networking opportunities. Development and implementation of networking activities for COFUND fellows (e.g. presentations and poster sessions for fellows, colleagues and invited stakeholders (industry, academia), matchmaking events, seminars and meetings).

     

  • Help all the very highly qualified applicants scoring 5 and 6 who have not been awarded a post doc position to get a fellowship, if they wish so. This would be achieved through, for instance, a few hours counselling on other opportunities, either through national or EU funding, through DTU network, etc.

Given the fact that one of the key features of Marie Curie Actions is the opening of research careers at European and international level, and taking into account the importance of promoting the training of researchers, we recommend the inclusion of a Sabbatical scheme for junior professors, with a duration of at least 6-12 months, in the next COFUND programme in order to attract to DTU international research capabilities at top level and to boost the career development of researchers.

 

This project has received Funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme and Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions grant no. 609405 (FP7) and 713683 (H2020)