In 2013, The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) decided to establish a new sub-committee that will enhance and promote initiatives for junior members, the Junior Members Advisory Panel (JMAP). Three of the six members of the panel were at the time also part of EFPT.
The foundation of JMAP took place in parallel with ongoing dialogue between ECNP and EFPT that started in 2011 as the visions of these two organisations were clearly similar in regards to the emphasis on promoting young scientists and supporting their ongoing professional development.
As the mandate of JMAP is to promote new initiatives within ECNP, it was clear that ongoing collaboration with EFPT would be beneficial to fulfilling this goal. Indeed, soon enough this collaboration brought to light the idea of a ‘Research Internship Project’. The basic concept behind this project is to provide short-term research internship opportunities for junior researchers from all over Europe with limited access to these facilities in their own country. A selected group of senior researchers (all of them ECNP fellows) offer a short two-week exploratory experience in their institutions.
The hosting scientist is encouraged to establish a long-term research relationship with the applicant and teach a basic translational research method that the participant can use at home when he/she returns.
For the pilot stage, ECNP has offered 5 grants of 1,000 EUR each (both for the junior researcher and the hosting institute). In a very short timescale, 70 applications were received and, after a joint evaluation process by JMAP and EFPT, 5 candidates were selected based on their CV, research background and their motivational letter.
At the 27th ECNP Congress in Berlin a match-making meeting brought together the selected junior researchers and the hosting Fellows.
The plan is to gradually increase the number of participants per year and at the same time to encourage more ECNP Fellows to introduce their state-of-the-art projects to junior researchers.
As the research internship project is already a reality, we are now in the process of discussing the next steps. At this time I would like to encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us for the sake of promoting high-standard education and science in Europe.
Dr. Kfir Feffer (MD)
ECNP JMAP- chair