IceLab Multidisciplinary Project Call Now Open

Project proposals can now be submitted, until May 27th. An information session is available on May 4th to hear more about the Kempe-funded program.

Teams of two or more researchers are invited to submit novel multidisciplinary project proposals in this funding call, to help launch projects that benefit from collaboration across disciplines and methodologies. Three projects will access funding for a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship. These shared postdoctoral fellows, supervised by multidisciplinary teams of researchers spanning departments at Umeå University or the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, enable new collaborations to grow from an idea into tangible new research.

The Integrated Science Lab (IceLab) supports the successful project teams along their multidisciplinary journey by hosting the selected postdoctoral fellows in IceLab’s interdisciplinary research hub, participating in all activities and connecting with IceLab researchers daily. IceLab members explore the uncharted territory between traditional disciplines, and regularly integrate theoretical, computational and empirical work. In addition, the supervising project team of an IceLab multidisciplinary postdoctoral fellow become IceLab affiliates in turn.

Information Meeting and Pitch Event

IceLab invites you to join an information meeting on the call on May 4th, in KBC Glasburen or through Zoom. During this meeting the project selection process will be explained, and researchers interested in finding a partner to submit a project proposal with will be offered the opportunity to pitch their idea. Register in advance if you are interested in attending or pitching. The deadline to submit project proposals is May 26th.

More information on the project call, registration for the information meeting and link to the application portal here.

A two-stage review process designed to identify the best project and postdoctoral candidate pairings

In the spring of 2022, IceLab invited pairs or groups of researchers from different departments and scientific disciplines to propose a project for a shared postdoc that would allow them to launch their collaboration. It was the third call offered by IceLab in the Kempe funded Multidisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

The international reviewers, Pól Martin Bendix (Associate Professor, Biophysics, Niels Bohr Institute) and Fariba Karimi (team leader in computational social science at Complexity Science Hub Vienna, and assistant professor at the Department of Network and Data Science at Central European University), assessed all of the submitted projects, identifying those that were of high quality and worthy of funding. Six projects were selected to proceed to the next phase.

“We found the proposals of very high quality in terms of novelty, scientific background of applicants and interdisciplinary nature. The cross-disciplinary environment around IceLab is indeed strong and very diverse. Overall, we have made a hard selection of six excellent projects as candidates for funding. These projects are expected to catalyze novel collaborations between a range of different scientific disciplines and strengthen the future IceLab research environment.” – Pól Martin Bendix and Fariba Karimi

In the second phase, the six selected projects each sought candidates for the postdoctoral fellowship. In the autumn, the project teams presented their projects and candidate postdoctoral fellows to an IceLab review team consisting of two PhD students (Hanna Isaksson and Aswin Gopakumar), two IceLab multidisciplinary postdoctoral fellows (Leyden Fernandez and Josephine Solowiej-Wedderburn), and one senior IceLab PI (Sebastian Diehl). This team reviewed each of the projects and interviewed the candidates independently.

Sebastian Diehl describes this internal review phase in more detail.

“Doing the recruitment process was a major effort for the IceLab internal recruitment committee, but I think it enabled us to do a really job. It also gave an opportunity to inform about IceLab and about IceLab’s expectations concerning the postdoc program. Our intentions were on the one-hand to gauge how well the candidates matched up with their projects and with IceLab culture, and on the other side to give the candidates an honest picture of IceLab, of the conditions of a fellowship, and of how it is to live in Umeå. We came up with independent preliminary ranking suggestions after our meetings with the PIs and postdoctoral candidates. We then discussed together to decide on a final ranking. This was done in a friendly, constructive and unprestigious way”

This internal review phase was a new addition to the IceLab Multidisciplinary Postdoctoral Program, funded by Kempe, and offered an opportunity for junior IceLab members to experience taking an active role in researcher recruitment. Sebastian Diehl thinks this new process and the inclusion of the junior researchers was an excellent initiative.

“Overall, this was a very rewarding experience for me. All of the projects were interesting to exciting, and all of the candidates were excellent matches for the projects. It was very interesting to get to know them as well as the PIs. I also strongly feel that putting together a committee consisting of members representing almost the full range of academic career stages (with a dominance of early career stages) was an excellent move. I was delighted by how engaged the junior committee members participated in the process. I was also impressed by their judgment.”

In the 2023 call this two phase process will once again be used to select projects and postdoctoral candidates to fund in the latest IceLab Multidisciplinary Postdoctoral Program Call.

The 2022 multidisciplinary postdoctoral fellows and projects

The three postdoctoral fellows selected in the 2022 call have now all joined IceLab and have begun working on their projects. Additionally, the principal investigators of each project are now connected to IceLab as affiliated researchers.

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