Date: 14.02.2023

MSCA fellowships are of great benefit to the Biology Centre CAS

Iva Mozgová's research group at the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology is now hosting four postdoctoral fellows funded by the MSCA postdoctoral fellowship programme. Ahamed Khan and Mingxi Zhou have been MSCA fellows since April 2021. In January 2023, they were joined by the ERA Fellow Rafał Krela (MSCA postdoctoral fellowship for widening countries) and Fatemeh Aflaki with an MSCA-CZ fellowship funded by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports from OPJAK. Four young researchers from four different countries won for the Biology Centre CAS four research fellowships in the amount of CZK 15 million.

"I encourage all postdocs who are newly incoming to my research group to try to apply for an MSCA or other fellowship grant", explains Iva Mozgová. "It has many advantages. Postdocs get to know define their own research project in detail right from the beginning. The proposed project of course needs to align with the research direction of the lab but it is to a large extent directed by the interest and previous research experience of the postdoc. By writing a project application, they gain experience in formulating research questions and planning laboratory experiments. If they succeed in a tough international competition and receive a grant, they gain an important point in their CV, more scientific independence and a very attractive salary. It is definitely worth the effort, energy and time spent. Especially if there are three sources of funding for one submitted project application", concludes Iva Mozgová.

Recent ERA Fellow Rafał Krela focuses on the function of the epigenetic repressor Polycomb in green algae. He describes his experience with the preparation of the MSCA project as follows: „Writing and submitting my project proposal was definitely a learning experience. It was challenging because I had to be very concise, precise in using the right keywords and always be sure to include all necessary information according to the evaluation key while evaluation itself is rather obscure. It was also important to think critically about how to structure the proposal and make sure that I was conveying my ideas in a clear and 

easy to understand manner. The crucial thing was help and advice from people experienced in creating successful MSCA proposals - both in the lab of Iva Mozgova and collaborators, with additional feedbacks from Polish and Czech National Contact Points. It was a great opportunity to practice my writing skills, creating good research questions and designing experimental approaches that will answer these questions.“

And what are Rafał´s expectations from MSCA project? „I'm looking forward to expanding not only my skills in molecular biology techniques and knowledge of plant epigenetics, but also to grow as a scientist in general thanks to collaborations with a variety of multidisciplinary researchers, disseminate scientific results to a broad audience during conferences and gaining new experience in applying for and managing projects. I hope that results of my project will give a new perspective in understanding evolution and functions of epigenetic mechanisms in plants and green algae. All in all I hope at the end of project I will be a little wiser than at the start of it.“

Postdoctoral fellows in MSCA program from Iva Mozgová's research group.

MSCA Fellows Ahamed Khan and Mingxi Zhou will present the results of their two-year MSCA projects on Thursday 30 March 2023 from 13:30 in lecture hall B1. Their talks will be part of the new series of Plant Sciences Seminars organized by Biology Centre CAS. You can find the schedule of seminars here:

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA PF) support career development and training of researchers in all scientific disciplines through international and inter-sectoral mobility. European Fellowship allows a stay of 1–2 years anywhere in Europe. Researchers up to 8 years after the obtaining of PhD are eligible to apply. MSCA fellowship covers living allowances, mobility allowances, family allowances, research and training costs and administration and indirect costs. In terms of amount, the MSCA fellowships are the most prestigious fellowships for postdocs in Europe. The success rate of applicants is 13 %. The next call will be announced in April 2023, with the application submission deadline on 13 September 2023. Projects will be able to start between 1 March 2024 and 1 September 2024.




Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Plant Molecular Biology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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