The European Commission has launched new calls for proposals to help improve the training, skills, and careers of researchers under the €1.75 billion Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). This programme is the most significant within Horizon Europe’s framework for doctorates and post-doctoral training.
The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions have a total budget of €6.6 billion for the period 2021-2027, and support researchers worldwide at any stage of their careers and in all disciplines. They also benefit institutions by supporting doctoral and postdoctoral programmes and collaborative research and innovation projects characterised by excellence, increasing their attractiveness and visibility on a global scale and fostering cooperation.
These actions will provide more than 856 million in 2023 and 902 million in 2024 for the five main actions of the work programme:
- MSCA Doctoral Networks – Implement doctoral programmes by training doctoral candidates at university level and in other sectors, such as industry and business. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with €434.8 million and €451.2 million euros respectively, will open in May and close in November each year.
- MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships – Enhance the creative and innovative potential of PhD researchers wishing to acquire new skills through advanced training and international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility. Funding will be available to researchers willing to carry out cutting-edge research and innovation projects in Europe and worldwide, not excluding non-academic sectors. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €260.5 million and €270.8 million euros respectively, will open in April and close in September each year.
- MSCA staff exchanges – Enable the development of sustainable international, cross-sectoral, and interdisciplinary collaboration in research and innovation. This exchange scheme helps to turn ideas into innovative products, services, or processes. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €78.5 million and €81.2 million respectively, will open in October and close in late February or early March each year.
- MSCA COFUND Action – Co-funds new or existing doctoral programmes and postdoctoral fellowship programmes in EU Member States or Horizon Europe associated countries to disseminate best practices of MSCAs. This co-funding covers international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training, as well as international and intersectoral mobility of researchers at any stage of their career. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €96.6 million and €99.3 million respectively, will open in October and close in February each year.
- MSCAs and citizens – This is an action that brings research closer to students, families, and the general public, mainly through the European Researchers’ Night in Schools. This action raises awareness of the impact of researchers’ work on citizens’ lives, society, and the economy, and fosters public recognition of science and research. The 2023 call, with a budget of EUR 15.4 million, covers the 2024 and 2025 editions of the European Researchers’ Night and will open on 20 June, with a deadline of 25 October 2023.
Under the new work programme, the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Actions will also fund a policy feedback initiative aimed at establishing stronger thematic links between MSCA projects, increasing the visibility of their contribution to key EU policy priorities, and seeking stakeholders’ views on how to maximise the impact of the programme.
The calls are launched following the adoption of the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2023-2024.
Background on Marie Curie Actions
Launched in 1990 and renamed Marie Curie Actions in 1996, the programme contributes to excellence in research and boosts jobs, growth, and investment by equipping researchers with new knowledge and skills and providing them with international and cross-sectoral experience to take up leading research positions of the future.
The actions have a structuring impact on higher education institutions and other entities beyond academia, as they disseminate excellence widely and set standards for high-quality researcher education and training across the European Research Area and worldwide.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, said: “The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions are a turning point for European science. We support researchers and continue to train the next generation of innovators and pioneers.