What is the best place to celebrate 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the Netherlands? The NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam set the inspiring stage for this event on Tuesday 8 November 2016. Young researchers, international researchers from Marie Skłodowska-Curie projects, policy makers and university staff all joined together on this day to celebrate.
While school children were doing all kinds of scientific experiments and games in the museum, a festive gathering took place in the Auditorium of NEMO. The celebration was centered around the active and successful participation of the Netherlands in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions during the last 20 years.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions
The MSCA are part of the European Framework Programmes for research and innovation. The MSCA have been providing grants for the training of excellent researchers since 1996 -whether these are doctoral students or very experienced researchers-, while encouraging transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility.
The most influential woman of the Netherlands in 2016, dr. José van Dijck, president of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), opened the event. She emphasized the important role the MSCA plays for science. Professor Van Dijck ended her speech with the message that science is about people: not just individual persons, but the connections between people and their ideas.
Keynote speaker Bodo Richter (Deputy Head of Unit, Unit B3, DG Education and Culture, European Commission) showed the successful role of the Netherlands in the MSCA and revealed some coming challenges for the programme as from 2018. His slides can be found under Download, at the bottom of this page.
Facts and figures
In the last 20 years almost 100,000 researchers with 140 different nationalities in 90 countries have been funded through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme. Since 2007, over 2,000 of these researchers have received a grant to do their research in the Netherlands. Between 2007 and 2014 almost €320 million euros has been awarded to 1,132 Dutch organisations.
In this period of 2007-2014 1,128 Dutch researchers have been awarded a fellowship to do their research abroad. The Netherlands are in 5th place when it comes to the number of fellowships granted between countries. Also, the MSCA have not only led to the award of 5 Nobel prizes, but also 1 Oscar. Even our most recent Nobel prize winner for Chemistry, Ben Feringa, was a coordinator of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie International training network for doctoral students.
An interactive panel discussion covered the impact of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme and the importance of having an international research career. Furthermore, successful researchers pitched their MSCA project to the audience to invite them to have a look at their project posters in the networking lounge.
The event was closed by Minister dr. Jet Bussemaker (Minister of Education, Culture and Science), who is very committed to science. The minister has herself been mobile internationally during her research career. In a Q&A session with moderator Armand van de Laar, the minister emphasized the international dimension of science and the importance of collaboration between disciplines.
Doing more research abroad
She is also of the opinion that more Dutch students should do their studies in another country. Minister Bussemaker ended her message by urging researchers, and especially female researchers, to keep using all the excellent possibilities the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme has to offer.