The European Commission announced new calls to support researchers’ training, skills and career development under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), the EU’s flagship funding programme under Horizon Europe for doctoral education and postdoctoral training. The calls follow the adoption of the Horizon Europe 2021-2022 work programme. With a total budget of €6.6 billion over 2021-2027, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions support researchers from all over the world, at all stages of their careers and in all disciplines. They also benefit institutions by supporting excellent doctoral, postdoctoral programmes and collaborative research, and innovation projects, boosting their global attractiveness and visibility and fostering cooperation beyond academia, including with big companies and SMEs.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted once more the importance of Europe’s reliance on highly skilled researchers able to detect and tackle upcoming challenges. It also showed the value of communicating scientific evidence to policy-makers and the public, and working across disciplines. In this context, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are a crucial instrument. Since its launch 25 years ago, the programme has been encouraging more women and men into research careers, promoting Europe’s attractiveness for top talents from around the world.”
In 2021, the MSCA will provide around €822 million covering the following five main actions of the work programme:
- MSCA Doctoral Networks – implement doctoral programmes training doctoral candidates in academia and other sectors, including industry and businesses. The 2021 call, with a budget of €402.95 million, opens today and closes on 16 November 2021.
- MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships – enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers holding a PhD and wishing to acquire new skills through advanced training, international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility. The funding will be available to researchers ready to pursue frontier research and innovation projects in Europe and worldwide, including in the non-academic sector. The 2021 call, with a budget of €242 million, opens today and closes on 12 October 2021.
- MSCA Staff Exchanges – develop international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary sustainable collaboration in research and innovation through exchanging staff. The scheme helps turn ideas into innovative products, services or processes. The 2021 call, with a budget of €72.5 million, will open on 7 October 2021 and will close on 9 March 2022.
- MSCA COFUND – co-finances new or existing doctoral programmes and postdoctoral fellowship schemes in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries with the aim of spreading best practices of the MSCA. This includes international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research training, as well as international and cross-sectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their career. The 2021 call, with a budget of €89 million, will open on 12 October 2021 and will close on 10 February 2022.
- MSCA and Citizens – brings research closer to students, families and the public at large mainly through the European Researchers’ Night. The action increases awareness of the impact of researchers’ work on citizens’ lives, society and economy, and boosts public recognition of science and research. It also aims to raise the interest of young people in research and scientific careers. The 2022 call, with a budget of €15.5 million, covers the 2022 and 2023 editions of the European Researchers’ Night and will open on 22 June with a deadline on 7 October 2021.
Under Horizon Europe 2021-2027, MSCA will place stronger emphasis on inter-sectoral collaboration, notably between academia and business as well as on effective supervision and career guidance through the new MSCA Guidelines on Supervision. It will also promote sustainable behaviours, research activities and management in line with the European Green Deal through the MSCA Green Charter.
Launched in 1990 and renamed the Marie Curie Actions in 1996, the programme contributes to research excellence, boosting jobs, growth and investment by equipping researchers with new knowledge and skills and providing them with international and inter-sectoral experience to fill tomorrow’s top research positions. They have a structuring impact on higher education institutions and other entities beyond academia by widely spreading excellence and setting standards for high-quality researcher education and professional training, across the European Research Area (ERA), and worldwide.
Between 2014 and 2020, the programme supported over 65,000 researchers from Europe and beyond, including 25,000 PhD candidates. It also financed more than
1,000 international doctoral programmes and boosted ties between academia and industry, involving 4,700 companies and nearly 2,200 SMEs. During the same period, over 8,450 organisations from more than 130 countries participated in the MSCA.
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