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The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) are the main instrument at European Union-level to reinforce the UE's efforts to entice more young women and men to a career in research, promote its attractiveness for top talents from around the world, retain its own researchers and reintegrate those working  elsewhere. 

The Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions support researchers to establish themselves on a more stable career path and to ensure that they can achieve an appropriate work/life balance, taking into account their family situation. These actions support the career development and training of researchers - with a focus on innovation skills - in all scientific disciplines through worldwide and cross-sector mobility. For this, the MSCA provide grants to PhD candidates as well as to post-doctoral researchers, and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. They are open to all domains of research and innovation, from basic research up to market take-up and innovation services. Research and innovation fields as well as sectors are chosen freely by the applicants in a fully bottom-up manner. 

The MSCA follow a "bottom-up" approach, i.e. individuals and organisations working in any area of research can apply for funding. Several MSCA initiatives promote the involvement of industry etc. in doctoral and post-doctoral research.The Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions ensure excellent and innovative research training as well as attractive career and knowledge-exchange opportunities through cross-border and cross-sector mobility of researchers, to better prepare them for current and future societal challenges.

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MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships (PF)

This call aims at enhancing the creative and innovative potential of Postdoctoral Researchers through advanced training and international and intersectoral mobility. They are open to all domains of research and innovation, from fundamental research to market take-up and innovation services. 

Researchers interested in PFs

  • should have a PhD degree at the time of the deadline for applications. Applicants who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered eligible to apply
  • must have a maximum of eight years experience in research, from the date of the award of their PhD degree, years of experience outside research and career breaks will not count towards the above maximum, nor will years of experience in research in third countries, for nationals or long-term residents of EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries who wish to reintegrate to Europe
  • should comply with mobility rules: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the beneficiary (for European Postdoctoral Fellowships), or the host organisation for the outgoing phase (for Global Postdoctoral Fellowships) for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the call deadline

As from 2022, resubmission restrictions will apply for applications that received a score below 70% the previous year.

Types of MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • European Fellowships are open to researchers currently within or outside Europe who want to work in an EU Member State or Associated Country (MS or AC). The duration of the fellowship is 12 to 24 months
  • Global Fellowships are open to researchers currently within or outside Europe who want to move to a Third Country (TC, outgoing phase) and then come back to an EU Member State or Associated Country (MS or AC, return phase). 

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MSCA Doctoral Networks (DN)

The Doctoral Networks (DN) support transnational doctoral programmes with different institutions/organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors. The aim is to improve the career opportunities for researchers through international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility, to strengthen the transfer of knowledge between the participating institutions and to increase the quality of doctoral programmes.

Doctoral Networks (DN) require at least three independent legal entities, each established in a different Member State (MS) or HE Associated Country (AC), and with at least, one of them established in a MS.

--- In Industrial Doctorates (ID), additionally, at least one entitiy must come from the non-academic sector (joint supervision)

--- In Joint Doctorates (JD), additionally, the consoritum that must be entitled to award doctoral degrees and at least two of the institutions should be able to confer a joint, double or multiple doctoral degree and must be established in an MS/AC

For all employed doctoral researchers, the mobility rule applies: they may not have lived or worked in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months in the 36 months prior to the start of the employment.

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MSCA Staff Exchanges (SE)

The Staff Exchanges programme promotes intersectoral, international and interdisciplinary collaborations through the mutual exchange of staff and knowledge. Projects can also build on preliminary work from already existing scientific networks, but should be deepened and/or (further) established. 

The collaborations are applied for on the basis of a joint research or innovation project by a consortium consisting of at least three partners from three different countries. At least two of these countries must be EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries. Should the participating institutions come from the same sector, then at least one participant must be established in a Third Country.

Secondments between institutions that are both located in Third Countries or in the same EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country are not eligible.

Secondments must last at least one month (30 days) and can last a maximum of 12 months. During this time, the seconded staff has to work full-time on the project. The minimum of 30 days can be split into several stays. The prerequisite is that a total of at least 30 days are spent at the same organisation.