Ca’ Foscari’s Research in the European Top 10 with 15 ‘Marie Curie’ Fellowships


The University Ca’ Foscari of Venice has won 15 ‘Marie Curie’ individual research fellowships, placing it among the top 10 European Universities for winning these scholarships, and setting a new Italian record. Ca’ Foscari has set a benchmark for what can be seen as the ‘Erasmus programme’ for researchers. This European programme is named after the renowned scientist, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. It carefully selects and finances the most gifted and talented minds by offering them the opportunity to lead their own scientific research moving between institutions and countries.

The results of the competition were announced by the European Commission, which received over 9 million projects from scholars from all over the world and chose to fund the 1348 best applicants. The overall grant for Ca’ Foscari amounts to 3.2 million euros.

The rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice Michele Bugliesi stated, “After the recognition of the Ministry of Education of the University of Research in the departments of excellence, this new outcome affirms our position among the best universities in the country, and places us among the top 10 European universities for Marie Curie Individual Fellowships. The funding that we have been given by the Marie Curie 2017 programme will bring 15 new profound researchers to Ca’ Foscari, coming from ten different countries. With their research, they will contribute to the scientific development of the university and contribute to Ca’ Foscari’s increasingly international scope. It is the confirmation that our actions to improve the quality and appeal of our University are going in the right direction, and it is an incentive to continue investing in broadening our international scope in order to get even better.”

The researchers that chose Ca’ Foscari come from ten European countries including the UK; Germany; Spain; Poland and Romania, but also outside of Europe; the United States; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh and Costa Rica.

The work of Costa Rican Alexander Araya testifies how a ‘Marie Curie’ can be a turning point in the career of a researcher. Araya, a sociologist who achieved his doctorate in Berlin, has lived as a freelance translator for three years, whilst keeping his dream of pursuing a research career alive by participating in competitions in Europe, the US, and Latin America. Eventually the idea of the ‘Marie Curie’, announced that it would reserve funds for young talented minds that intended on returning to research after a period of interruption in their career.

“After a first unsuccessful attempt, I decided to contact Ca’ Foscari proposing research in tourism, social movements and local communities and we started working on the project” he tells us. The study will focus on Venice, Barcelona and Amsterdam and will last for two years and will be conducted under the supervision of Professor Francesca Coin at the Department of Linguistic and Comparative Cultural Studies.

There will be two returning researchers to Ca’ Foscari. We also have Andrea Berardi, an expert in finance, who halted his research in favour of a managerial position in a Swiss pharmaceutical company, taking care of the stock exchange. Despite this, his passion for research never died and now he will deal with the bonds in the euro-area with Professor Monica Billio at the Department of Economics at Ca’ Foscari.

The Venetian University has successfully managed to win as many as 7 of the 137 Global Fellowships (which allow for two years of research outside of Europe, followed by a year within Europe), and 8 of the European Fellowships, which finance researchers during a two year period at Ca’ Foscari.

Of these scholarship holders, there are two philosophers. The first, Marco Faini, currently in England, will go to the University of Toronto. Whilst the second, Caterina Tarlazzi will go from Geneva to Indiana. The Polish sociologist, Anna Kordasiewicz, will study domestic work comparing Italy and the United States at the University of Massachusetts. The Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage will welcome the Spanish aesthetic researcher Carlos Vara Sànchez and Carlotta Minnella currently at Oxford.

The German economist Nicole Tabasso will study information diffusion in networks, whilst the Bangladeshi Animesh Gain, currently in Germany, will go to the San Giobbe Campus after two years at the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he will deal with an interdisciplinary approach to water resources.

Ahmad Guliyev, from Azerbaijan, will deal with relations between the Middle East and Venice in the Department of Asian and North African Studies. The British classicist Thomas Coward (supervisor Ettore Cingano) and the Romanian historian Andrea-Bianka Znorovsky (supervisor Flavia De Rubeis) will work on their projects in the Department of Humanities.

All areas of discipline at Ca’ Foscari have achieved recognition from the Marie Curie Global Fellowship. The Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics will welcome the paleontologist Elena Ghezzo, and glaciologist Pascal Bohleber from the University of Heidelberg.

"This outcome is the result of the work of a talented close-knit team, which improves its results year after year, always offering effective support for European planning and develops coordinated actions for brain circulation", comments Dario Pellizzon, manager of Area Ricerca. "I remember the measures launched in recent years such as the ‘Brain Gain’ programme, ‘Careers+’, and the ‘HRS4R Excellence in Research Award’, all initiatives which have contributed to making both Ca’ Foscari and Venice a place of international standing in the field of research, with competitive standards within the European stage. For this, we have the pleasure of thanking our wonderful team: Fiorella Giacometti, Claudia Bertocchi and Silvia Zabeo, who are of course already at work preparing the contracts of the 15 new Marie Curie researchers”.

The Marie Curie Individual Fellowship

The Marie Curie Individual Fellowship is part of the European programme for research and innovation, ‘Horizon 2020’. This year, the European Commission has dedicated 248 million euros to the cause, an increase of 30 million from the last one. Of the 1,348 scholarships, 78 went to scholars that will finish their research in Europe, 46 for people returning to research after a pause in their career, and 137 are Global Fellowships (a period outside Europe, then re-entry). The Marie Curie scholarships fund experienced and talented researchers who intend on pursuing their own research project in an institution of their choice in a country other than the one they currently work in. It therefore encourages researchers to move around the globe and promotes the inter-university collaboration all over the world.