The Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme, initated in 1990 and renamed as “Marie Curie Actions” in 1996, is part of the first Pillar of Horizon Europe – Excellent Science. It is the EU’s flagship programme for PhD students and postdoctoral training. It contributes to excellence in research and boosts employment, growth and investment by equipping researchers with new knowledge and skills and providing them with international and cross-sectoral experience to enable them to take up leading research positions in the future. These actions have a structuring impact on higher education institutions and other entities beyond academia, as they widely disseminate excellence and set standards for high-quality researcher education and professional training across the European Research Area (ERA) and worldwide.
Since 2014, the program has supported more than 66,200 researchers in Europe and beyond, including 25 000 doctoral candidates. It has also funded 1,180 international doctoral programs and boosted university-industry links, involving 5,100 companies and 2,650 SMEs. During the same period, more than 8,700 organizations from over 130 countries participated in the CSMAs.
Type of actions
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCAs) contribute to improving the training, skills and careers of researchers. With a total budget of €6.6 billion for the period 2021-2027, this program helps researchers worldwide, at any stage of their careers and in all disciplines. They also benefit institutions by supporting doctoral and postdoctoral programs and collaborative research and innovation projects characterized by excellence, which increases their attractiveness and visibility on a global scale and fosters cooperation beyond academia, especially with large companies and SMEs.
There are five different types of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions:
– Doctoral Networks implement doctoral programs by training doctoral candidates in academia and other sectors, such as industry and business. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €434.8 million and €451.2 million, respectively, will open in May and close in November each year.
– Postdoctoral Fellowships enhance the creative and innovative potential of PhD-holding researchers who wish 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-university sectors. The 2023 and 2024 calls, with a budget of €260.5 million and €270.8 million, respectively, will open in April and close in September each year.
– The Staff Exchanges enable the development of sustainable international, cross-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration in research and innovation. This exchange scheme helps 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.
– The MSCA COFUND action co-finances new or existing PhD programs and postdoctoral fellowship programs in EU Member States or Horizon Europe partner countries to disseminate MSCA best practices. 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.
– MSCA and citizens is an action that brings research closer to students, families and the general public, mainly through the European Researchers’ Night and Researchers in Schools. This action raises awareness of the impact of researchers’ work on the lives, society and economy of citizens, and encourages public recognition of science and research. It is also aimed at increasing young people’s interest in scientific research and 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 20th June and will close on October, 25th, 2023.
In the framework of the new 2023-2024 Work Programme, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions will also finance an intiative to provide feedback to the policies with the aim of establishing stronger thematic links between projects in these actions, increase the visibility of their contribution to the Union’s key policy priorities, and seek stakeholders’ views on how to maximize the program’s impact. The budget is over €856 million in 2023 and €902 million in 2024.
Useful tool for transnational cooperation and networking: MSCA-NET