The emergence of smart manufacturing, including initiatives such as Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing, is leading to a transformational change in all aspects of the supply chain, and will change how companies structure their manufacturing operations, and how they cooperate with suppliers and customers. Adopting the smart manufacturing transformation is critical for the long‐term competitiveness of Irish and European industry.

Given this evolution, the main objective of the MSCA cofund SMART 4.0 Fellowship with CONFIRM Centre is to deliver the next generation smart manufacturing leaders with strong “systems-level thinking” and interdisciplinary skills, to help drive Industry 4.0 forward for Europe and to deliver the greatest impact potential for advancement. To achieve this, CONFIRM Centre will establish and deliver, via the SMART 4.0 programme, world‐class training and research opportunities to postdoctoral Fellows in order to increase Europe’s critical mass in this field.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) aim to support the career development and training of researchers in all scientific disciplines through international and intersectoral mobility. This mechanism through CONFIRM Centre, enables excellent research and the provision of attractive working conditions by offering high quality professional opportunities to researchers of any age, nationality or discipline. The MSCA have a bottom-up approach, i.e. research fields are chosen freely by the applicants.

The goal of the CONFIRM Centre SMART 4.0 programme is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers wishing to diversify through advanced training, and international and intersectoral mobility. The scheme particularly supports the return and integration of researchers from outside Europe and those who have previously worked here, In addition to researchers displaced by conflict outside the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. In addition, it also promotes the career restart of individual researchers who show great potential.

16 Fellowships

The SMART 4.0 programme will offer 16 Fellowships for incoming mobility of Experienced Researchers (ER), each 24 months in duration.

SMART will adhere to the MSCA cofund principle of ‘individually-driven mobility’ meaning that Fellows will have full freedom to choose their research topic, host institution and supervisor (all within the extensive reach of and with due regard to the end‐use applications in CONFIRM Centre’s Hub research and industry targeted spoke themes – Smart Products, Smart Machines, Smart Production Systems and Smart Supply Chains; see Themes – Hubs & Spokes).  Prospective Fellows will be embedded in an international, interdisciplinary and Intersectoral environment, and will be well-poised to capitalize on CONFIRM Centre’s excellent industry and research architecture.

SMART 4.0 will publish 2 open calls for proposals, which will be widely disseminated to the relevant target groups (see §5.1).  The evaluation and selection process will be based on international peer review, and will be open, transparent, merit‐based and equitable.  A first phase will consist of remote review of written applications, whilst a second phase will consist of interviews (see §5.3).  Those successful in this process, will receive an offer of a Fellowship as a SMART 4.0 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow with CONFIRM Centre for Smart Manufacture. 

To foster the Fellows’ career development, the SMART 4.0 training programme will include:

  1. An Individualised 24 month research training project, developed by the Fellow with input from one or more members of CONFIRM Centre’s academic community
  2. Attendances at CONFIRM Centre and affiliates’ Spring and Summer schools; a keynote speech at CONFIRM Centre’s annual conference
  3. A compulsory 3-month (minimum) industrial secondment (see Partners – Academic, Industry)
  4. Scientific training options
  5. Transferable skills training, including optional teaching experience (up to 6 hours per week)