The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions offer the opportunity for researchers holding a PhD to secure their own funding via Postdoctoral Fellowships to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. Postdoctoral Fellowships help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic sectors.
Researchers who are interested submit an application together with a host organisation based in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country. The host can be any research performing organisation such as a university, research institution, business, SME or other legal entity from the academic or non-academic sectors. At the call deadline, interested researchers 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, long-term leave 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).
The generous annual budget includes funding for salary, mobility costs, family and other allowances (where appropriate), 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.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Success Stories
There are two types of Postdoctoral 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.
- Global Fellowships – facilitating European researchers to acquire new knowledge and skills by working outside Europe for a time, then to transfer that knowledge back into Europe.
The main activity of a Postdoctoral Fellowship is a research training project, aimed at supporting the researcher’s career and fostering excellence in research. The proposal is 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.
Applicants can also add an optional non-academic placement period as part of their proposal, provided the placement is in line with the project objectives and adds significant value and/or impact to the fellowship. The placement must be with a non-academic organisation (e.g. NGO, company, charity etc) which is based in an EU Member State or Associated Country. A non-academic placement takes place after the standard duration of the fellowship and can be up to a period of 6 months in length.
What research areas are funded?
All areas of research are covered by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, including STEM subjects, the social sciences, humanities, economic sciences, and research areas covered by the Euratom Research and Training Programme.
1) European Fellowships
The European Fellowships are open to researchers either moving within Europe or coming to Europe. These fellowships take place in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country.
The researcher must comply with the mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the call deadline.
- Project duration is between 12 and 24 months.
- Researchers of any nationality can apply.
- Typical Fellowship Budget ~ €85,000 per annum.
2) Global Fellowships
For Researchers moving from Europe (a Member State or Horizon Europe Associated country) to a country outside, followed by a return period back in Europe.
The researcher must comply with the mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organisation, for the outgoing phase, for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the call deadline.
- Project Duration is 24 to 36 months (including a mandatory 12-month reintegration period back to Europe after the completion of the outgoing stay).
- Only nationals or long-term residents of the EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries can apply.
- 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 Associated Partner:
- 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.
- Associated Partners do not recruit researchers, but get involved in training activities (for example, hosting researchers who are on secondment, contributing to training events): Associated Partners 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 supervisor in that organisation who will support the application and host the researcher if their application is successful. The applicant and the host supervisor should jointly prepare and submit the fellowship application.
There is an annual funding call for the Postdoctoral 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.
You can also watch our most recent information webinar here
If you have just 10 minutes to spare but want to learn more about the 2023 Postdoctoral Fellowships call, check out our bite size overview.