Are you a researcher who wants to advance your career and make a difference in the world? Do you want to collaborate on cutting-edge projects with leading experts and institutions across Europe and beyond? Do you want to receive generous funding, training, and support for your personal and professional development? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should consider applying for the Marie Curie Fellowship.
The Marie Curie Fellowship is one of the most prestigious and competitive research fellowships in the world. It is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), a program created by the European Union to support excellence in research and innovation. The MSCA offers various opportunities for researchers at different stages of their careers, from doctoral candidates to experienced researchers, to work on interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral projects that address the global challenges of our time.
In this blog post, we will focus on the Postdoctoral Fellowships (PFs) action of the MSCA, which targets researchers holding a PhD who wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. We will explain what the PFs are, who can apply for them, how to apply for them, and what benefits they offer. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about the PFs and provide some tips and resources to help you prepare a successful application.
Table of Contents
The PFs are funded by the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, which is responsible for proposing and implementing policies, laws, and programs for the benefit of the EU and its citizens. The European Commission manages the MSCA program through its Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), which oversees the EU’s research and innovation agenda and budget.
The PFs are also supported by the European Research Council (ERC), an independent scientific body that funds frontier research in all fields of science and scholarship. The ERC provides additional funding for PFs that are linked to ERC grants, allowing the fellows to join or create research teams working on ERC-funded projects.
The PFs are implemented by the Research Executive Agency (REA), an agency of the European Commission that manages the administrative and financial aspects of the MSCA program. The REA is in charge of the evaluation, selection, monitoring, and reporting of the PFs, as well as providing guidance and assistance to the applicants and beneficiaries.
The PFs are open to researchers of any nationality except for French citizens and students with dual citizenship, one of which is French. However, the program prioritizes researchers from emerging countries, especially in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the new members of the European Union.
The peer review is carried out by independent experts who are selected by the REA based on their scientific and professional expertise. The evaluation process takes about six months, and the results are published on the Funding and Tenders Portal. If you are selected, you will receive a grant agreement and a contract from the host organization. You will then need to confirm your acceptance and prepare for your departure to the host country.
The deadline for the submission of applications by the host organization is September 15, 2024. However, each host organization may have its own internal deadline for selecting and submitting candidates. Therefore, you should contact the host organization of your choice as soon as possible to find out their specific deadline and application procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions and answers about the PFs that may help you with your application:
- Q: What is the difference between a European fellowship and a Global fellowship?
- A: A European fellowship is a fellowship that allows you to carry out your research in an ERA country for a duration of 12 to 24 months. A Global fellowship is a fellowship that allows you to carry out your research in a third country for a duration of 12 to 24 months, followed by a mandatory return phase of 12 months in an ERA country.
- Q: Can I apply for more than one fellowship or project?
- A: Yes, you can apply for more than one fellowship or project, as long as they are different and not overlapping. However, you can only receive one fellowship at a time.
- Q: Can I change my host organization or project after the submission of my application?
- A: No, you cannot change your host organization or project after the submission of your application, unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify the change, such as force majeure, ethical issues, or security reasons. In such cases, you need to request and obtain the approval of the REA before making any changes.
- Q: Can I extend or shorten the duration of my fellowship?
- A: No, you cannot extend or shorten the duration of your fellowship, unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify the change, such as force majeure, maternity leave, sick leave, or career break. In such cases, you need to request and obtain the approval of the REA before making any changes.
- Q: Can I interrupt or terminate my fellowship before the end of the contract?
- A: Yes, you can interrupt or terminate your fellowship before the end of the contract, but you need to inform and obtain the consent of the host organization and the REA. You also need to provide a justification and a report on the work done and the results achieved during your fellowship. Depending on the reason and the timing of the interruption or termination, you may have to reimburse part or all of the funding received.
Tips and Resources
To increase your chances of getting a PF, here are some tips and resources that you may find useful:
- Start preparing your application early and plan ahead. The application process can take several months, and you need to gather all the necessary documents and information, as well as coordinate with the host organization and the referees.
- Choose a host organization and a project that match your profile and interests, and that offer a stimulating and supportive research environment. You can use the MSCA Partner Search Tool, the EURAXESS portal, or the EURAXESS Jobs platform to find potential host organizations and projects.
- Write a clear, concise, and convincing research proposal that demonstrates the originality, relevance, and feasibility of your project, as well as the expected impact and benefits for your career and for society. You can use the [proposal template] and the [evaluation criteria] provided by the REA to structure and format your proposal.
- Seek feedback and advice from your peers, mentors, or experts in your field, as well as from the host organization and the National Contact Points. They can help you improve your proposal and avoid common mistakes and pitfalls.