This article provides a summary of the session "20 Years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) - Building on Success", held on Thursday 22 June at the UKRO Conference 2017. The session included a talk from Sophie Beernaerts (Head of Unit, MSCA, DG Education and Culture, European Commission) and was chaired by Ian Devine (UKRO). The session's presentation can be found on the UKRO Conference 2017 page.
Summary of Presentation
Sophie started by giving a reminder of the life and key scientific achievements of Marie Skłodowska-Curie. She then briefly presented 20 years of the MSCA and the predecessor programmes, which started in 1994 under Framework Programme 4, with funding for training and mobility of PhD-holders under 35. The scheme has been developing and growing since then, both in terms of allocated budget and types of proposed activities. Moving more specifically onto MSCA in Horizon 2020, she outlined the key features that make the programme attractive to researchers and their host organisations: international mobility, bottom-up approach to topics, interdisciplinarity, and good working conditions. Sophie then provided an overview of the current actions: Individual Fellowships, ITNs, RISE and COFUND, highlighting the novelties under the IF scheme: the Society&Enterprise Panel and the Seal of Excellence initiative and presenting case studies and statistical information on the UK involvement in MSCA. The UK is the number one beneficiary of the Programme, with 2,500 organisations involved in projects supported between 2014 and 2016 receiving over €500 million.
The second part of Sophie's presentation focused on the MSCA Interim Evaluation and the future of the programme. In the coming three years we will see very strong continuity from the previous programming period and it is expected that the programme will continue to remain popular and competitive. The Interim Evaluation exercise confirmed the overall success of the scheme, for instance, MSCA fellows are twice as likely than average researchers to publish in the top 1%-5% of cited publications and 70% say they reached the next career stage faster thanks to the MSCA. The MSCA Work programme 2018-2020 is currently being finalised and Sophie presented some key developments:
- Part-time option for experienced researchers in IF on pilot basis (50% work-time);
- Strengthening of Reintegration and Career Restart panels (extended duration and funding);
- Possibility under Global Fellowships to spend time at the European beneficiary or partner organisation before the outgoing mobility;
- Less strict eligibility criteria for secondments under RISE (one month link with the host institution prior to the secondment);
- Teaching will be highlighted and support to teaching encouraged;
- Introduction of a special needs allowance (lump sum micro-grant to the beneficiary);
- MSCA Individual Fellowships Widening panel;
- Increased budget for ITN to counter low success rate.