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 – from how companies structure their manufacturing operations to 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 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. The scheme particularly supports the return and integration of non-EU researchers and researchers displaced by conflict outside of the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. In addition, it also promotes the career restart of individual researchers who show great potential.

SMART 4.0 offering

SMART 4.0 programme will offer 16 Fellowships, each 24 months in duration in the Republic of Ireland

SMART will adhere to the MSCA cofund principle of ‘individually-driven mobility’ meaning that Fellows will have full freedom to choose their host institution, supervisor and research topic (with alignment to 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 disseminated internationally.  The evaluation and selection process will be based on international peer review, and will be open, transparent, merit‐based and equitable.  Phase 1 will consist of remote review of written applications, whilst a Phase 2 will consist of formal panel interviews.  Those successful will receive an offer of a SMART 4.0 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship 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 CONFIRM Centre’s academic community
  2. Attendances at CONFIRM Centre and affiliates’ Spring and Summer schools
  3. A compulsory 3-month (min.) industrial secondment (see Partners – Academic, Industry)
  4. Career development planning
  5. Transferable skills training

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