The European Commission has created the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) to promote the transnational and cross-sector mobility of scientists and R&I staff from technology and management. The MSCA aims to make Europe more attractive to researchers and to create a strong pool of European researchers and developers. The programme's underlying principles are:
- Excellence: The MSCA support excellent researchers. They also promote excellence in research and innovation cooperation, knowledge transfer, methodologies and content, as well as training, mentoring and career guidance.
- Mobility: The MSCA support the mobility of researchers between countries, sectors and disciplines to acquire new knowledge, skills and competences.
- Bottom-up and open to the world: The MSCA are open to all areas of research and innovation and promote international collaboration to create strategic cooperations.
Under Horizon Europe, the MSCA have a budget of EUR 6.6 billion.
It is important for the EU to develop and maintain European and international partnerships between academia and industry and other socio-economic actors. The call of tender have no thematic restrictions ("bottom-up").
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) are aimed at:
- Research and training facilities
- Young scientists, doctoral students and experienced scientists
As MSCA, the EU promotes:
Doctoral Networks (previously: ITN): Doctoral training networks
Postdoctoral Fellowships (previously: IF): Research stays
Staff Exchanges (previously: RISE): Innovation incentives through staff exchange programmes
COFUND: Co-financing for mobility programmes
"MSCA and Citizens" (previously: NIGHT): Public events for teaching science and research
Overview of the name change of the MSCA measures under Horizon Europe:
Doctoral Networks DN (previously: ITN): Doctoral training networks
Doctoral Networks (DN) are European networks for the training of young scientists working on a joint research project. In these networks, the young scientists should expand their skills in an international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral way. In particular, networking between academic institutions and companies is intended to increase the career opportunities of young scientists.
For DNs, the consortium must comprise at least three entities from three different EU Member States or Horizon Europe-associated countries with at least one entity from an EU Member State. Each partner of a consortium must hire at least one doctoral student. The maximum duration of the networks is four years. During this time, the EU will support up to 360 person-months for junior researchers.
Special types of doctoral networks are the Industrial Doctorates (ID) with particularly strong industry involvement and the Joint Doctorates (JD) with joint or multiple dissertations. The EU supports these with up to 540 person-months.
- Industrial Doctorates (ID)
The consortium must comprise at least three institutions, two of which must come from different sectors (academic/non-academic). Doctoral students must spend at least 50% of their time in the company. In the case of joint support, partners from the academic and corporate sectors may be located in the same country.
- Joint Doctorates (JD)
The consortium must comprise at least three bodies that may award doctoral titles, of which at least two must be entitled to award a joint, double or multiple doctoral title and be established in an EU Member State or in a Horizon Europe-associated state.
Postdoctoral-Fellowships PF (previously: IF): Research stays
PFs are aimed at doctoral researchers who wish to pursue their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. PFs help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic fields. The aim of the postdoctoral fellowships is to support the career of researchers and to promote excellence in research. Researchers interested in postdoctoral fellowships should have a doctoral degree at the end of the application period. Applicants who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but have not yet been officially awarded the doctorate can also apply. They may prove a maximum of eight years of research experience, starting from the date of the doctoral degree.
Staff Exchanges SE (previously: RISE): Innovation incentives through staff exchange programmes
The SE Action finances short-term international and cross-sectoral exchanges of employees working in the research and innovation activities of the participating organisations. The aim is to develop sustainable cooperation projects between different organisations in the academic and non-academic sectors (especially SMEs) in Europe and beyond. Exchange participants benefit from new knowledge, skills and professional development prospects, while participating organisations expand their research and innovation capacities.
Staff exchanges are open to international consortia of universities, research institutes, businesses, SMEs and other non-academic organisations. They must include at least three organisations in three different countries, two of which must be located in another EU Member State or a country associated with Horizon Europe. Beyond this minimum, organisations from any country may participate. Should all participating organisations come from the same sector (academic or non-academic), at least one organisation must come from a non-associated third country.
Staff exchange projects can last up to four years. With the grant, the EU finances the mobility of seconded staff from one month to one year. The exchange of staff between organisations in EU Member States or countries associated with Horizon Europe must take place between different areas (academic or non-academic), unless it is interdisciplinary. Partnerships with non-associated third countries should allow for exchanges within the same sector and subject matter.
Conditions of participation:
- Researchers at every career level, from doctoral candidates to post-doctoral candidates, as well as administrative, technical or managerial staff involved in research and innovation activities.
- Any nationality can participate
- Participants must be involved in or have been associated with research and innovation activities at least one month prior to secondment to their institution.
- Participants should return to their seconding institution after secondment to share their knowledge and promote cooperation.
Posted staff will receive an additional allowance from the EU (for travel, accommodation and subsistence costs) and allowance for special needs, if necessary, in addition to the salary paid by their organisation. The EU also provides funding for research, training and networking activities, management and indirect costs.
COFUND: Co-financing for mobility programmes
The COFUND Action provides funds for regional, national and international programmes for training and professional development through co-financing mechanisms. COFUND promotes sustainable training and international, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral mobility.
COFUND can work with the following types of organisation:
- State institutions
- Regional authorities
- Funding agencies
- Research facilities
COFUND projects should last up to five years and involve at least three researchers. COFUND funding is intended to help host institutions to cover the following costs for each researcher funded:
- A fixed amount (COFUND grant) equal to the minimum salary that researchers should receive. This grant can be used to support all expenses of the programme.
- A sabbatical leave allowance and, where applicable, a special needs allowance
There are two types of COFUND:
- Doctoral programmes: Research training activities aimed at developing and expanding skills and competences with the aim of obtaining a doctoral degree. Applicants must not have a doctoral degree and should be enrolled in a doctoral programme during the project.
- Postdoctoral programmes: Individual research training and career development grants for post-doctoral researchers. Applicants must have a doctoral degree. Researchers who have successfully defended their thesis but have not yet been officially awarded the doctorate are also considered post-doctoral candidates and may apply. However, they should not be permanently employed by the host institution.
Applicants wishing to apply for doctoral and postdoctoral posts under COFUND should apply for supported COFUND projects by consulting their vacancies advertised internationally, including the EURAXESS portal.
Applicants may be of any nationality (nationals or long-term residents of an EU Member State or a country associated with Horizon Europe if the main part of a post-doctoral fellowship takes place in a non-associated third country) and may be funded for at least 3 months. They should also comply with the mobility rules: In the 36 months immediately before the deadline for the call of proposal expires, they may not have lived in the country of the inviting organisation for more than 12 months or have carried out their main activities (work, studies, etc.) there.
"MSCA & Citizens" (previously: NIGHT): Public events to promote science and research
The aim of the “MSCA & Citizens” campaign is to bring research closer to the general public, with a focus on families, school pupils and students. This is achieved by means of the organisation of the European Researchers’ Night, an event to communicate and promote research taking place in all EU Member States and countries associated with Horizon Europe. Every year on the last Friday of September, it attracts millions of visitors and makes science accessible to everyone through exhibitions, practical experiments, science shows, games, competitions and quiz games.
From the 2022-2023 edition, the European Researchers' Night will bring top researchers to schools throughout the year as part of the “Researchers in Schools” campaign, in order to give teachers and pupils the opportunity to talk to researchers about socially relevant topics such as climate change, sustainable development, health or nutrition.
The European Researchers' Night aims to:
- Contribute to support for cutting-edge research projects across Europe and beyond
- Raise awareness among the general public of the importance and benefits of research and innovation and its concrete effects on the daily lives of citizens.
- To inspire young people's enthusiasm in science and careers in research.
Typical profiles of participating organisations are:
- Research institutions (public/private)
- Public authorities
- Science museums
- Media organisations
The European Researchers' Night provides funds for organising events that can run over a period of up to two days. Pre-events prior to the main event and related post-events, such as wrap-up meetings or smaller follow-up events, can also be funded. Eligible costs shall be paid in the form of lump sums.
As a rule, the activities are divided into 4 work packages:
- Awareness campaign
- Activities during the NIGHT
- Impact assessment and
This also includes the “Researchers in Schools” campaign.
The Call for Proposal 2022 invites applicants to submit proposals for two consecutive editions (2022 and 2023) of the European Researchers' Night. They are also encouraged to focus on the priorities set by the Horizon Europe missions and to include relevant activities in their events.
More about the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) online:
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