The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions offer the opportunity for Experienced Researchers (PhD holders or those with four years of research experience) to secure their own funding via Individual Fellowships to support their research training and career development. Any Experienced Researcher, from a recent PhD graduate to an emeritus professor, can apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to be hosted at a research-performing organisation from any sector (public, private, non-profit, etc.). The scheme also supports the return and reintegration in Europe of researchers who have previously carried out research here, and the restarting of the research careers of those who have recently taken a break from their career. The new Society and Enterprise panel provides a specific opportunity for researchers to carry out a fellowship in a non-academic organisation such as industry, a civil society organisation or a cultural body. The generous annual budget includes funding for salary, mobility costs, research costs, and a contribution to the overhead costs of their host organisation. As mobility is key to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, a Mobility Rule (see below) is a key eligibility criterion.
There are two types of Individual Fellowship:
- European Fellowships – providing an opportunity for researchers to broaden their horizons by working at a research organisation in Europe, with a view to acquiring new skills or working in new sectors. The fellowships are open to researchers either moving within Europe or coming to Europe.
- Global Fellowships – facilitating European researchers to acquire new knowledge by working outside Europe for a time, then to transfer that knowledge back into Europe.
The main activity of an Individual Fellowship is a research training project, developed by the researcher in collaboration with their host organisation, and designed to provide training through research. An integral part of the fellowship is training in complementary and transferable skills, for example, research management, intellectual property rights, entrepreneurship, public engagement, inter-sectoral or interdisciplinary knowledge transfer, building collaborations, and organisational skills.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to incorporate a secondment to another organisation into their fellowship plans. Ideally this secondment should be to an organisation in another sector e.g. a researcher carrying out a fellowship at a university might consider a secondment in the public or private sector, a NGO, a museum or other appropriate organisation.
What research areas are funded?
All areas of research are covered by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, including STEM subjects and the social sciences, humanities and economic sciences.
1) European Fellowships
For Experienced Researchers either moving from one country in Europe (a Member State or Associated country) to another, or moving to a country in Europe from outside. Project Duration 12 to 24 months. Typical Fellowship Budget ~ €85,000 per annum.
There are four options within the European Fellowships:
- Standard Fellowship: open to Experienced Researchers wishing to carry out a fellowship at a European host organisation. The researcher must adhere to the standard Mobility Rule: at the deadline for the submission of applications, they can have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the host organisation for no more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline.
- Career Restart Panel: A special Career Restart option for Experienced Researchers re-starting their research career at a European host organisation after being inactive in research for 12 months or more. The researcher must adhere to the Relaxed Mobility Rule: at the deadline for the submission of applications, they can have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the host organisation for no more than 3 years in the 5 years immediately prior to the deadline.
- Reintegration Panel: A special Reintegration option for Experienced Researchers previously active in research in Europe who seek to return to carry out a fellowship at a European host organisation. The researcher must adhere to the Relaxed Mobility Rule.
- Society and Enterprise Panel: A special option for Experienced Researchers who wish to carry out a fellowship outside of academia, e.g., in a company or an NGO or a museum etc. The researcher must adhere to the Relaxed Mobility Rule.
2) Global Fellowships
- For Experienced Researchers moving from Europe (a Member State or Associated country) to a country outside, followed by a return period back in Europe.
- The researcher must adhere to the standard Mobility Rule: at the deadline for the submission of applications, they can have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the host organisation outside Europe for no more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline.
- Project Duration is 36 months (including a mandatory 12-month reintegration period back to Europe after the completion of the outgoing stay).
- Typical Fellowship Budget ~ €85,000 per annum.
Example of a successful project
Based at Maynooth University Dr Michael McGann is an MSCA Individual Fellowship Awardee for 2018. His research focuses on the sociology of work and social policy on employment, with a particular focus on issues related to welfare-to-work and the marketisation of public employment services as well as ageing and employment.
An organisation can participate as a Beneficiary or a Partner Organisation:
- Beneficiaries participate fully in the network, recruiting and training researchers and receiving a portion of the project budget to fund the full costs of this participation.
- Partner Organisations do not recruit researchers, but get involved in training activities (for example, hosting researchers who are on secondment, contributing to training events): Partner Organisations do not receive funds from the project budget, but can reclaim eligible participation costs from one of the Beneficiaries.
How to apply
Potential applicants should first find a host organisation (or organisations for Global Fellowships) and a host researcher in that organisation who will support the application and host the researcher if their application is successful. The applicant and the host researcher should jointly prepare and submit the fellowship application.
There is an annual funding call for the Individual Fellowships with one deadline for both fellowship types. Details of all Calls, including application documentation, may be found on the Funding and tender opportunities portal. A list of Call deadlines can be found here.
More information can be found on the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions website.