COSMOS will train 15 ESRs at the interface between Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Life Sciences, integrating theoretical and data-driven methods to make the researchers competitive for a wide range of industrial and academic positions. The COSMOS training programme is designed to help the ESRs progress smoothly from working under their supervisor’s guidance to being fully-fledged independent researchers. This training is based on four main components:

(i) Local training This is the training that the ESRs will receive whilst working at their ‘home’ universities. This training provides the competences needed to start the research projects and the transferable skills needed to undertake a scientific career (e.g., scientific writing, communication in science, good ethical practice, fund-raising ability, etc.).

Scientific training will include basics such as nonlinear dynamics, numerical methods, statistical mechanics and, where needed, basics of neuroscience, physiology, and system biology. More complex topics such as information-theoretic methods, synchronization, network analysis, advanced nonlinear-dynamics indicators, inference methods, non-equilibrium thermodynamics will also be covered. The consortium has been assembled in such a way as to cover all the competences that are necessary to achieve the final objectives:

  • Statistical mechanics (UNIFI, UNIABDN);
  • Synchronization theory (UP, UPF, ULANC);
  • Information-theoretic tools (VU/VUmc,UNIABDN,ULANC);
  • Advanced nonlinear-dynamics tools (UNIABDN, UNIFI, UP);
  • Network theory and applications thereof (FIŠ,UNIFI);
  • Statistical analysis of time series (UNIABDN, VU/VUmc, ULANC, UP, UPF);
  • Nonlinear methods of data analysis (ULANC, UNIABDN, UP, UNIFI, UPF);
  • Physiology and neuroscience (MUG, VU/VUmc, ULANC, UPF, UNIFI, UNIABDN, UP).

(ii) Secondments Each ESR will spend at least 12 months at their partner university. An industrial secondment of at least 3 months will also be completed. Thus, over the course of their training, the ESRs will be exposed to three distinct environments providing them with a unique opportunity to learn about different ways of living and conducting research.

(iii) Network-wide training This is the most structured component of the training activity, which will include two schools, three workshops, one toolbox laboratory, and a final conference.

  • School 1 will deliver introductory courses on the theoretical basis for the characterization of complex systems. Additional lectures on complex-systems theory not represented in COSMOS will be given by invited speakers. In addition sessions aimed at developing generic skills in the field of science organization will be delivered.
  • Workshop 1 Current state of the art will be highlighted with reference to the various COSMOS goals in order to homogenize language and views.
  • School 2 will be devoted to advanced topics in model-based data analysis of complex systems. Reports and posters on their current project statuses will be given. Transferable skills related to general management and career planning will also be given, as well as presentations by our industrial partners.
  • Workshop 2 All ESRs will present their current findings, serving as a practical training in the communication of scientific results. Invited talks on recent achievements in relevant areas will also be given.
  • The Toolbox Laboratory will constitute a practical exchange of algorithms and the methods developed to date. This event will also represent the first test by the ESRs of the user friendliness of these tools that are intended for eventual use by non-experts. A few selected talks and seminars devoted to the presentation of collaborative results will be given.
  • Workshop 3 will be organised primarily by the ESRs as a test for their transition from the guided-research of the doctoral stage to the self-propelled research of the future stages in their careers. This workshop will be devoted to the identification of open questions and “surprises” that may have emerged as well as the discussion of novel ideas and possible cross-fertilization with other fields.
  • The Final Conference will include external keynote speakers and presentations of their results from the COSMOS members. This Conference will contribute to increasing the international visibility and dissemination of the COSMOS results, and will allow ESRs to establish direct contact with world-leading groups in the field.

With the exceptions of the first Workshop and the Toolbox Laboratory, the common activities will all be open to young researchers of the network partners, including researchers not funded by COSMOS, as well as to the participants in related ITNs, upon covering their travel and lodging expenses, but with no fee to be paid.

(iv) External schools

The last component of the training activity of the ESRs is participation in properly selected external schools and conferences.