The 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. With a total budget of €6.6 billion over 2021-27, the MSCA 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.
The MSCA will provide over €886 million* in 2023 and €902 million in 2024 covering the five main actions of the work programme:
- MSCA Doctoral Networks implement programmes training doctoral candidates in academia and other sectors, including industry and businesses. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €434.8 and €451.2 million respectively, will open in May and close in November each year.
- MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers holding a PhD and wishing to acquire new skills through advanced training and 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 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €260.5 and €270.8 million respectively, will open in April and close in September each year.
- 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 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €78.5 and €81.2 million respectively, will open in October and close on late February or early March each year.
- 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 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €96.6 and €99.3 million respectively, will open in October and close on February each year.
- MSCA and Citizens brings research closer to students, families and the public at large mainly through the European Researchers’ Night and Researchers at Schools. 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 2023 call, with a budget of €15.4 million, covers the 2024 and 2025 editions of the European Researchers’ Night and will open on 20 June with a deadline on 25 October 2023.
Under the new work programme, the MSCA will also fund a Feedback to Policy initiative to make stronger thematic links between MSCA projects, raise visibility of their contribution to key EU policy priorities and gather stakeholder feedback on ways to maximise the programme’s impact.
The calls follow the adoption of the Horizon Europe 2023-24 work programme.
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.
Since 2014, the programme has supported over 66,200 researchers from Europe and beyond, including 25,000 PhD candidates. It also funded 1,180 international doctoral programmes and boosted ties between academia and industry, involving more than 5,100 companies and 2,650 SMEs. During the same period, over 8,700 organisations from more than 130 countries participated in the MSCA.