Innovative training networks are a European Community concept funded by the Research Executive Agency, under the project called "Marie Curie Actions". The idea is that the EU helps build structures that provide interdisciplinary training to skilled graduate students, providing them with knowledge and skills that make them attractive for the work market and useful to society, while boosting the research projects that the EU is interested in.
The scheme involves the creation of consortiums of several research institutes, universities, industrial partners. They get funded to hire PhD students on very specific projects that must show synergy, interdisciplinarity, excellence and innovation. It is a tall order, made more demanding by a huge amount of competition. Every year there is one call and the success rate of any application is in the single digits of percentage.
So I am both very happy to report, and a bit puzzled too, that for the second time in a row I won a grant for a ITN. The first time was two years ago, with the project AMVA4NewPhysics (funded with 2.4MEuro), which I built myself from scratch, and of which I am the scientific coordinator. That network is working extremely well and is producing important scientific output, excellent training and good outreach, as you can witness by visiting e.g. the blog of the network. And yesterday I was notified, with a very dry and unconspicuous automated message, that the ITN INSIGHTS, to which I am participating as a beneficiary (but luckily not as coordinator - I have a life) has also won the requested 3.1MEuro of funding!

I will be responsible for the Outreach work package of INSIGHTS, as well as PI of the INFN-Padova node in the network. The network includes Royal Holloway University London as coordinator (with prof. Glen Cowan, a luminary of statistics applied to physics and a member of the ATLAS collaboration, at the helm) as well as 10 other beneficiaries, plus 4 partners. INFN is a beneficiary with leading section at Napoli, with my CMS colleague Luca Lista as PI. I can't wait to start working with them, especially since I already see many potential synergies with AMVA4NewPhysics!

To the young readers of this blog, who are finishing a master in Physics or Statistics, the message is: please consider applying for a PhD in INSIGHTS! The salary is competitive, the plan is full of secondments, schools, and travel around, the mentoring will be formidable, and the company will be amazing! The first call is expected to open this July, for a position at INFN-Padova and a PhD in Statistics at the University of Padova (with prof. Bruno Scarpa as tutor). The other 11 calls are expected in January 2018.