Ca’ Foscari among top EU universities with 20 new Marie Curie Fellows


Twenty researchers of nine nationalities, coming from universities and research centres across the globe, will arrive at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice thanks to the ‘Marie Skłodowska-Curie’ fellowship. Every year, this programme — which is organised by the European Commission and is named after the first woman who was awarded a Nobel prize — selects and funds the most talented and promising researchers, providing them with the opportunity to conduct their research in different institutions and countries. 

This year’s scholars have studied at Boston’s MIT, at the University of Oxford, and at Griffith University (Australia). Nine of them have been awarded a Global Fellowship, and therefore will conduct their research at prestigious international centres before returning to Venice. Ca’ Foscari’s partner universities include the University of California (Irvine and Davis), Columbia, Yale, and the University of Tokyo. The European Commission has allocated 4.5 million euro to these 20 projects. 

With a total of 20 projects awarded, Ca’ Foscari is once again the most requested university in Italy for this programme, and in the top five in Europe. This result is all the more impressive, given that this year the competition within the new Horizon Europe programme was more selective than in previous years. Over the years, the Marie-Curie Fellow ‘community’ at Ca’ Foscari has grown to include 140 researchers. 

Tiziana Lippiello, Rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, has commented on this achievement as follows: “Ca’ Foscari is once again among the top universities in Europe for attracting talented researchers, who are given the opportunity to conduct their research in an innovative and international environment. We are enthusiastic about welcoming these fellows, who have chosen our university and the city of Venice. Marie Curie Fellowships are among the most prestigious and valued funding programmes. We welcome our university’s achievement, which contributes to our internationalisation and to attracting new talent.”  

Success stories

The projects selected are interdisciplinary and involve five departments at Ca’ Foscari, as well as the Cmcc@CaFoscari centre, which arose from a partnership between Ca’ Foscari and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change. The fellows’ range of nationalities and research centres testifies to Ca’ Foscari’s international appeal. 

Here are some examples:

New Zealander Dayton Lekner has studied at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany. At the Department of Asian and North African Studies, Dr Lekner will focus on politics and society in China at the time of Mao.  

Mjriam Abu Samra, from the University of Jordan, will conduct research on the history of young Palestinians and on related transnational politics, both at Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage and at the University of California, Davis. 

Liberty Chee is originally from the Philippines and is currently a lecturer at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She will join Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage to conduct interdisciplinary research on law, economics and sociology with a focus on domestic workers, international conventions that involve them and on the global governance of migration. 

Maksud Bekchanov, from Uzbekistan, is currently a researcher at the University of Hamburg. He will move to Venice to focus on climate change and in particular on strategies for a more efficient management of soil, energy and water in transboundary water reservoirs. He will work at Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, and at the Cmcc@CaFoscari centre.

Diego Villar, from Argentina, has worked at Conicet (the National Research Council of Argentina) and will join Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Humanities to conduct his research on the impact of the spreading of motorcycles on the indigenous people of the Amazon. 

Among the Italian fellows we mention the story of Niccolò Maffezzoli, the only researcher who was working at Ca’ Foscari before obtaining the fellowship. Dr Maffezzoli had already been awarded a European Fellowship, and this new Global Fellowship will allow him to work at the University of California, Irvine. His goal is to develop a system to estimate the volume of glaciers using satellite data and artificial intelligence. 

Talitha Ilacqua is an Italian fellow who has recently worked at the University of Oxford. She will conduct historical research on liberal patriotism in the Mediterranean between 1814 and 1848, at Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage  and at Yale. 

Author: Enrico Costa / Translator: Joangela Ceccon