Last 7th December I presented my experience as a Marie Curie fellow at the 4th Annual Meeting of European Scientific Diasporas in North America, hold at the Embassy of Austria in Washington DC, USA.
In 2018, in partnership with the Office of Science and Technology Austria (OSTA), the Annual Meeting has focused on the overarching theme: Science to Society and welcomed European diaspora members, Embassy representatives as well as non-European researchers interested in European research and innovation. The event was organized by Viktoria Bodnarova who is the Regional Representative for EURAXESS North America, responsible for Canada and the US and Dimah Mahmoud, PhD Programme Manager EURAXESS North America.
Launched in 2015, the aim of the European Scientific Diasporas (ESD) annual meetings is to allow leaders and members of European Scientific Diasporas in North America to meet, discuss and exchange concepts about their research projects, professional and personal experiences in their respective diasporas and overall career path. The overarching theme for ESD18 was ‘Innovation to Society’. The event was open to all researchers in North America, this includes European researchers as well as current, previous and potential North American (Canada/US) researchers who have or would like to benefit from European research grants to further their careers.
I was invited as a current MSCA fellow and also a member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association in North America. Among the Marie Curie fellows, besides me, there were: Angela Bellia, Marco Masia and Elena Ghezzo. Angela Bellia is a Marie Curie Researcher at the Italian National Research Council. Her work concerns a particular area of social sciences and humanities, and involves the fields of archaeoacoustics and digital heritage. Marco Masia is Innovation consultant for SMEs, not-for-profit organizations, and start-ups. He has been active member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) since 2013; in particular, he has been vice chair of the Association from 2016 to 2018, and Board Member from 2018. Finally Elena Ghezzo, who is a research fellow at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice and she will spend two years (2018-2020) at the University of Oregon (Eugene) for the REFIND project, dealing with Remote Sensing and spatial analyses applied to palaeontological issues.
Group picture of Italian Marie Curie Alumni
Regarding my talk within the panel FEATURING SUCCESS: THE DIASPORA-EUROPE CONNECTION, I presented what a MSCA fellow does during the outgoing phase and what are the benefits and opportunities to apply for this EU programme. I explained with real case studies how this fellowship boosts your career development thanks to the participation in in key training, research activities and events. In the last two years, the MSCA has given me the freedom to fully focus on my research CONSUMEHealth which is studying eating habit and healthy behaviour. Then through the participation to over 60 seminars and workshops and courses, I acquired research, transferable as well as complementary skills. For example I participated in events dealing with the Design Thinking, Survey Methodology and Questionnaire Development, Academic Writing skills, Fluency in presentations, and also specific workshops on how to enhance Your Communication Skills for Teaching.
Thanks to the generous funding for travels I visited many interesting conferences, in Europe and the US (Boston, Washington, and NYC) where I met colleagues from different fields to work with in the future. This is giving me the opportunity to strengthen my international research network and open the gates to future collaborations.
Finally, I am really well-connected with the MCAA network. For instance, last year I had the pleasure to be invited to the ceremony for the 150th anniversary of Marie Skłodowska Curie’s birth in Rome where I have been awarded as MSCA fellow 2017. This year, I participated in several webinars organized by the NorthAmerica local chapter. For example last June, I attended one webinar about "How to write a successful ERC StG” with Raymond Schiffelers (UMCU, The Netherlands) and Twan Lammers (RTWH Aachen, Germany).
This MSCA fellowship provides me the opportunity to pursue my dream projects and I am very glad that some breakthrough results are coming out which will be very useful to society (here you can read my last publication). I am happy to be associated with European Commission and its goals of a more open data access and sharing results. I can say without a doubt that a MSCA literally opens horizons.
Panel FEATURING SUCCESS: THE DIASPORA-EUROPE CONNECTION