1. May I ask you to introduce yourself briefly?
Francesco Grassi. I am a pharmaceutical chemist working as a senior researcher at the Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute in Bologna (Italy).
I was awarded an OIF MC fellowship during the 6th Framework Programme, for a project on the role of immunity in regulating skeletal homeostasis. I have lived and worked in the United States for four years.
2. Why did you apply for the Ordinary Board Member position within the MCAA?
As a former Vice-Chair, I enjoyed taking part in the starting phase of the MCAA. The Association has just recently started to exploit its full potential as the largest association of excellent scientists and scholars. I wanted to keep contributing to the growth of the MCAA, but in the meantime, I thought that some turnover within the Executive Committee would be beneficial. This is why I decided to apply to be an Ordinary Board member
3. You were Vice-Chair within the previous Board. How will this experience help you in your new role?
Being the Vice-Chair during the past 2.5 years has been a learning experience for me. We started many activities from scratch, including micro-grant programmes for Members, collaboration with the EC and the contractor, and the Chapters’ and Working Groups’ activities. Therefore I now expect to be instrumental to the new Board smoothly taking over the tasks that we committed to working on. Building on the results obtained by the previous Board, I can now support the new Board in planning activities for the new period.
4. As an Ordinary Board member within the MCAA, what do you plan to do first?
First, it is a priority for us to close our budget period (ending 8 May) and lay the ground for the next contractual period with the EC. This requires very fast and efficient planning of our spending ability in the next few weeks. Moreover, the next four years will be marked by a larger EC budget, but our biggest challenge will be to start attracting money from the outside, opening the way for a self-sustainable MCAA in the future.
5. What do you think the MCAA’s priorities should be?
I think the MCAA has the potential to gradually become more influential in shaping future policies for research within the EC, and this is one of the priorities we are pursuing through our dedicated Working Group. Moreover, Members are increasingly asking for practical information and support to solve some common issues such as taxation differences between countries. The MCAA cannot fix this issue but can collect concerns, good practices and help draw up common standards to make the Marie Curie experience more enjoyable for everyone. Lastly, we are constantly committed to the career development of our Members – a topic for which our BSB Working group will play a key role by opening new avenues to bridge the gap between scientist, scholar, and the business.
6. What would you say to the Alumni, especially to those who elected you?
This is an exciting time for MCAA. Recently we enjoyed an exponential growth of enthusiasm, ideas and talented Members who are willing to participate in the life of MCAA. The next couple of years will be critical to shape the future of MCAA as this burst of new energy will turn into new projects and opportunities for all Members. So, keep in touch with us, the Board Members, and keep stimulating us with your input for a better and more effective MCAA.