PRESENTATION

CONTEXT

In Switzerland, ultrafast science has reached a critical mass of individual research efforts, spread out over various universities and research centers. In almost all key technologies and in theoretical modeling, Swiss research groups are among the leaders in the field and represent a very complementary set of experimental and theoretical teams. With the aim to support such a wide and multidisciplinary community toward a synergic context, the last year the Swiss National Science Foundation launched MUST, an interdisciplinary network of Swiss research groups, all with research efforts in ultrafast science.

 

In the next future, our society will face a number of key challenges, such as developing alternative energy sources, synthesizing complex functional drugs, or designing post-Moore's law electronics. Addressing these challenges requires a detailed microscopic understanding of the structural and dynamic behavior of matter. This understanding can only come from sophisticated and advanced visualization techniques, which the members of MUST will help to develop within a highly integrated research network. The impact of this program extends well beyond the Swiss dimension providing Europe with a new generation of researchers in ultrafast sciences and therefore considerably improving the research quality of the ERA.

 

 

Equal opportunities

The recent “Gender and Research Funding” study commissioned by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) identified two major obstacles that lead to an over-proportional drop-out of women from the academic system (“leaky pipeline”): Inadequate career-specific support and difficulties in balancing science and family.

 

Accordingly, to support female fellows the IFP-MUST Post Doctoral program will offer:

  • a mentoring program that will provide dedicated mentors to each participating female fellow of the IFP-MUST Post Doctoral program. The mentors will provide advice for career planning, offer support for networking and submission of applications, and will draw attention to available career opportunities.
  • a support for the compatibility of science and family, e.g. help for getting non-school related day-care services, urging the universities to increase these services, accepting flexible working schedules for parents, providing financial support for day-care according to the regulations of the Marie-Heim-Vögtlin program (a program funded by the Swiss National Foundation, aiming for scientific reintegration of women after a career break).
  • specific encouragement of women to submit applications for positions within the IFP-MUST program, for instance by exemptions from the typical time window between PhD degree and application to our program.

 

Evaluation and Selection

  • An eligibility check will be performed by the administrative office under supervision of the managing team and will follow the rules for eligibility published on the IFP-MUST webpage.
  • Eligible applications will be evaluated by two experts from the selection committee. The applicants’ curriculum vitae will be judged according to the evaluation guidelines and assigned a score ranging from 0-10. Proposed projects will be evaluated for scientific quality, creativity and originality and assigned a score ranging from 0-10. After evaluation each expert will write a short report, stating the reasons for his or her choices. This report will be used to inform the applicants.

 

The managing team will compare scores provided by the two experts for each application. If there are no substantial discrepancies between the scores, the average score will be used to make a ranking list of the applicants. The 10 top-ranking applicants will be invited for an interview. Applicants not ranging within the 10 top-ranking applicants will get an evaluation report.

The highest ranked candidates will be interviewed by a committee composed of experts from the selection committee. Candidates will be asked to defend their proposed project. During the interview a standard set of five criteria will be used to evaluate the applicant’s performance.

 

Together with the scores for the five criteria, the expert committee for each applicant will provide a short report on the reasons for the score. Within approximately 10 weeks after application deadline, a ranking list of the 2nd evaluation will be published by ID numbers on the webpage and the applicants will be informed by personal mail. The first applicants will be invited to sign an acceptance letter.