Boosting internationalisation and enhancing career perspectives: starting in 2023, Kiel University’s Postdoc Center will be offering a new training programme for postdoctoral researchers from all over the world at the Kiel Fjord. The “Kiel Training for Excellence” (KiTE) programme is made possible thanks to support from the European Commission's largest funding scheme for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. In this current round of applications, Kiel University was the only German research institution to be successful with a proposal aimed specifically at postdocs.
The total 4.3 million euro budget of KiTE will be cofunded by the European Commission with 2.3 million euros. The remaining two million euros will be provided directly by Kiel University: “Supporting and training researchers and qualifying them for various career paths in light of the complex societal challenges of our time is a central concern for Kiel University,” says Professor Simone Fulda, President of Kiel University. “KiTE not only offers Kiel University unique opportunities to attract and develop new talents for excellent research and transfer. The programme also perfectly complements our University’s other European initiatives", continues Fulda. Examples include the “HRS4R” (Human Resources Strategy for Researchers) award for excellent recruitment and working conditions for researchers as well as its participation as a founding member in the European university alliance SEA-EU. According to Fulda, these initiatives enable synergies for the benefit of promoting early-career researchers be it by providing an excellent working environment or enhanced networking opportunities at the European level.
Expanding academic horizons and career prospects
Attracting and developing talents, advancing excellent research – this is the motto under which the Postdoc Center of Kiel University will coordinate this interdisciplinary and cross-institutional training programme. The early-career researchers will be known as fellows in the KiTE programme and will be recruited in two cohorts of eight postdocs each for a period of 36 months until 2027. “The funding enables us to pilot innovative methods in international recruitment as well as in the supervision and qualification of researchers in their early postdoctoral career phase,” emphasises the head of Kiel University’s Postdoc Center, Dr Gesche Braker, who is delighted about the success of the proposal. According to Braker, “Kiel will become a central location for the support and development of individual talents.”
As part of the programme, fellows will immerse themselves into one of Kiel University’s four interdisciplinary priority research areas – Kiel Life Science (KLS); Kiel Marine Science (KMS); Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science (KiNSIS); Societal, Environmental and Cultural Change (SECC). The researchers can advance their training through workshops and summer schools on topics such as research ethics, gender issues or open science.
In addition, it will be mandatory for all participating researchers to expand their academic horizon: they will be seconded for at least three of the 36 months to private companies or public institutions outside of Kiel University. In addition, the fellows will spend a further three months at another academic institution outside of Germany.
Pilot project with an innovative approach
“The holistic KiTE programme will help the fellows to make informed decisions about their future career paths. In order to achieve this, we are always open to additional cooperation opportunities with highly dedicated partner institutions,” says Braker. Even before the proposal was submitted, a wide range of associated partners from science, business, policy and society had agreed to provide the KiTE postdocs with insights into their current activities.
Although KiTE is conceived as a pilot project, all researchers in their qualification phases at Kiel University should be able to benefit from this innovative approach in the future. The intention is therefore to extend the programme towards other early-career researchers.
About “Kiel Training for Excellence” (KiTE):
The “Kiel Training for Excellence” programme is cofunded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) from the European Commission's Horizon Europe programme (project number: 101081480). KiTE was among the top 10 of the 116 applications submitted and was the only successful postdoc programme to be approved in Germany. The early-career researchers will be known as fellows and will be recruited in two cohorts of eight post postdocs each for a period of 36 months until 2027. Interested researchers who are resident or working abroad can apply to participate with their own research ideas, foreseeably as from March 2023.
The proposal for KiTE was submitted by Dr Gesche Braker (Postdoc Center of Kiel University), Linda Piálek (Research Funding EU and International at Kiel University) and Professor Nele Matz-Lück, Kiel University’s Vice-President for international affairs, young researchers, equality and diversity. The future KiTE steering group consists of professors from the four interdisciplinary priority research areas of Kiel University: Professor Rainer Adelung (KiNSIS), Professor Andre Franke (KLS), Professor Annette Haug (SECC) and Professor Katrin Rehdanz (KMS).
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Funding for the “Kiel Training for Excellence” (KiTE) programme was awarded to Dr Gesche Braker (Postdoc Center of Kiel University), Linda Piálek (Research Funding EU and International at Kiel University) and Professor Nele Matz-Lück, Kiel University’s Vice-President for international affairs, young researchers, equality and diversity. The future KiTE steering group consists of professors from the four interdisciplinary priority research areas of Kiel University: Professor Rainer Adelung (KiNSIS), Professor Andre Franke (KLS), Professor Annette Haug (SECC) and Professor Katrin Rehdanz (KMS).
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