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European Research Area

EU funding to boost Madrid´s economy

The aim of the EU-funded AMAROUT project was to support the development of the European Research Area while, at the same time, boosting a powerful knowledge hub in the Madrid region. AMARTOUT is now regarded by the Madrid regional government as key to turning the region into a world-class centre for science and research excellence.

The idea of a European Research Area grew out of the realisation that research in Europe suffers from three main weaknesses: insufficient funding, lack of an environment to stimulate research and exploit results, and the fragmented nature of activities and resources.

To tackle these challenges, AMARTOUT provided experienced researchers with fellowships in some of the most promising research areas with high economic impact – water, food science, energy, mathematics, materials science, nanotechnologies, networks and software.

Selected by international panels made up of well-known scientists, some 130 fellows undertook scientific projects at international research centres linked to the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies (IMDEA). These research bodies include 16 universities, 46 Higher Councils for Scientific Research, 46 technology centres, and 20 public research facilities.

The creation of the IMDEA Institutes responded to the need to build an institutional framework for research in Madrid enabling to place the city at the forefront of global research. Companies have been involved from the outset in their design, the definition of their objectives and lines of research, the monitoring of results, etc., aware of the fact that cooperating with these Institutes enables them to conduct competitive-enhancing research and develop their own technology. And this approach translates into research on areas where a demand exists for innovative solutions enabling Madrid’s entrepreneurs to improve their productivity and position themselves in the national and international markets.

The researchers came from Europe and around the world, including China, Cuba, India, Mexico, Peru, and the US. The funding helped them deepen and widen their skills under excellent working conditions.

At the same time, AMAROUT made a significant contribution to the further development and consolidation of the European Research Area. This is in line with the EU´s overall strategy of helping researchers develop their careers, encouraging them to stay in Europe, and attracting the best brains from around the world.

The project was supported by major universities and research centres in the Madrid region, and provided interaction with top research teams, and with private companies. The EU provided around EUR 3.7 million to fund the initiative.

The AMAROUT fellowship programme, which lasted four years and was concluded in March 2013, is part of IMDEA´s longer-term strategy to promote the international mobility of 200 internationally recognised scientists and 400 young researchers.

A continuation of the project, AMAROUT-II, kicked off in 2012 with the aim of financing up to 152 researchers to join the IMDEA network for up to three years. The EU is providing EUR 5 million to AMAROUT-II.

Both experienced and very experienced researchers from any country worldwide can apply for AMAROUT-II fellowships at any of the participating IMDEA centres.

Of interest