05 May Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon Europe: career development for international and excellent researchers
The Marie Sklodowska-Curie program is part of the Excellent Science Pillar in Horizon Europe, which is a continuation of Horizon 2020. It continues to stand out as the human resources recruitment line within the Framework Program, although it incorporates some differences with respect to what we have been seeing in the period from 2014 to 2020.
The main features of the MSCA program are as follows:
Supporting the development of research careers around the world through excellence.
Stimulate international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation, especially encouraging the participation of the non-academic sector (preferably SMEs).
For researchers at any stage of their career development.
Direct impact on the careers of researchers and research organizations.
Before going into detail about each of the actions included in this program, let’s take a look at some global data on Spanish participation in Horizon 2020 in relation to MSCA. The truth is that we can be proud because we have not done badly at all.
million euros returned
% success rate
Spanish position in H2020
By type of call, Spain has proven to be one of the main powers in attracting research talent of excellence. We are in the third position in the RISE program, with an 11.6% success rate. We are second in individual IF actions with 10.7% of the funds and first country in Europe in COFUND, with a success rate of 22.4%. Where we have “slipped” a bit, due to the high competition, is in the ITN predoctoral networks, where we have finished sixth with a success rate of 7.7%.
Going into the subject of what is to come in 2021 with the start of Horizon Europe, I will describe the main novelties and characteristics of each of the programs that will encompass the MSCA Actions.
MSCA Doctoral Networks
These are formerly known as ITNs or Innovative Training Networks, which are pre-doctoral training networks.
They aim to train creative, entrepreneurial, innovative and resilient PhD candidates, capable of meeting current and future challenges and of converting knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit. MSCA PhD networks will equip researchers with the right mix of research-related and transferable skills and offer them better career prospects in both academic and non-academic sectors through international, interdisciplinary, and cross-sectoral mobility combined with an innovation-oriented mindset.
MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowhips
In H2020 they were what we called Individual Fellowships. The aim of the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers who hold a PhD and wish to acquire new skills through advanced training and international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility. MSCA postdoctoral fellowships are open to excellent researchers of any nationality, including researchers wishing to reintegrate in Europe, researchers displaced by conflict, as well as high-potential researchers wishing to restart their research careers. The scheme also encourages researchers to work on research and innovation projects in the non-academic sector.
MSCA Staff Exchanges
In H2020 these were the well-known RISE. They focus on promoting innovative international, cross-sector and interdisciplinary research and innovation collaboration through the exchange of personnel and the sharing of knowledge and ideas at all stages of the innovation chain. The scheme fosters a shared culture of research and innovation that welcomes and rewards creativity and entrepreneurship and helps turn ideas into innovative products, services or processes. It is open to research, technical, administrative and managerial staff.
Under the same name as H2020, it co-funds new or existing Ph.D. programs and postdoctoral fellowship schemes at the national, regional or international level with the objective of disseminating MSCA best practices, including international, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary research training, as well as transnational and intersectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their careers.
MSCA and Citizens
MSCA and citizens, through the European Researchers’ Night, aims to bring research and researchers closer to the general public, raise awareness of research and innovation activities and boost public recognition of science and research education. It will also showcase the role of the researcher for society and the economy, as well as the impact of researchers’ work on the daily lives of citizens, and will aim to increase young people’s interest in research and scientific careers.
The focus will be on EU priorities, such as the European Green Deal, and on the themes of the Missions.
The main novelty is that it will be funded in lump sum format with an amount of between 50,000 and 150,000 euros, the next call being scheduled for June 17, 2021, with a closing date of October 7.
Things that we will have to take into account from now on…
If 30% of the content of the proposal, including the consortium, is repeated and also falls below 80 points, the proposal will be discarded.
Maternity and paternity leave will automatically deduct 1.5 years from the eligibility periods for postdoctoral contracts.
SMEs are still eligible even if there is no specific panel for them.
The candidate's CV and the project should be well balanced in postdoctoral actions.
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