The Staff Exchanges action funds international and inter-sectoral exchanges (secondments) of staff members involved in research and innovation activities of participating organisations. The aim is to develop sustainable collaborative projects between different organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors, based in Europe and beyond. Exchanged staff benefit from new knowledge, skills and career development perspectives, while participating organisations increase their research and innovation capacities.
A Staff Exchanges programme is built on a collaborative research and innovation theme implemented by a series of staff exchanges (with an in-built return mechanism) and networking activities (meetings, workshops, conferences etc.) between research organisations both academic and non-academic:
- Academic: consists of public or private higher education establishments awarding academic degrees, public or private non-profit research organisations whose primary mission is to pursue research, and International European Research Organisations
- Non-Academic: includes any socio-economic actor not included in the academic sector and fulfilling the requirements of the Horizon Europe Rules for Participation. Examples (not exhaustive) include: industry (SMEs etc.), charities, NGOs, government/public bodies, museums, hospitals, libraries, etc.
Staff Exchange Success Story
MSCA Staff Exchanges can address three dimensions of mobility: international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary. Secondments however must be between different countries and secondments between non-associated third countries are not eligible. While exchanges/secondments between organisations within EU Member States and Horizon Europe Associated Countries should mainly be inter-sectoral (between academic and non-academic), same-sector exchanges are also possible under the condition that they are interdisciplinary. Interdisciplinarity is not required for same-sector exchanges with non-associated Third Countries.
An organisation can participate as a Beneficiary or an Associated Partner:
- Beneficiaries participate fully in the network, hosting and training researchers and receiving a portion of the project budget to fund the full costs of this participation.
- Associated Partners are involved in hosting and training researchers. Associated Partners do not receive funds from the project budget, but can reclaim eligible participation costs from one of the Beneficiaries.
What funding is provided?
Financial support is provided to cover the costs of the exchange visit for each researcher (student, researchers, technical staff, research managers) who is seconded to a different organisation. The researcher must be engaged in, or linked to, research and innovation activities at their sending organisation for at least one month prior to the secondment. In all cases, the seconded staff members must continue to be paid their salary by their home organisation and are expected to return there after the exchange visit to pass on their knowledge and foster collaboration. Visits can be of any duration from one month up to a maximum of 12 months for an individual researcher.
Financial support is also provided to cover research, training and networking costs and the management and overheads costs of the participating organisations.
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.
- Staff Exchanges consortia can include universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other non-academic organisations. A consortium consists of at least three independent organisations established in three different countries, two of which need to be located in a different EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country, and must respect one of the following two conditions:
1. if all organisations are from Europe, at least one organisation should be from the academic sector and at least one from the non-academic sector (except if they are interdisciplinary) or
2. at least two organisations are located in two different European countries and at least one organisation is located in a non-European country.
- The project duration is a maximum of 4 years with a maximum of 360 person-months per project contribution from the EU.
- Typical Project Budget €200,000 up to €1.5 million depending on the number and duration of the staff exchange visits.
How to get involved
- Use your existing contacts to find a consortium to join. Working with experienced participants is a great place for a newcomer to start.
- Build your own consortium using your existing networks.
- Find new partners. There are a number of tools available to help you do this:
– Use the Partner Search page of the EU’s Funding & Tenders Portal.
– The MSCA-NET matchmaking platform.
– You can also access Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Find a Research Partner.
– Looking to find an industry partner? The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) provide Partnering Opportunities
– Looking to find a civil society partner in Ireland? See Access Europe’s Partner Database
How to apply
There is an annual funding call for Research and Innovation Staff Exchange. 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.
To find out more, watch the IMSCO webinar on the Staff Exchange 2022 call here.