The final round of FP7 Marie Curie Fellowships calls was opened last week on the 14th March. The deadline is 14th August 2013 for all three kinds of Fellowships:
There’s an additional deadline of 18th September 2013 for the Career Integration Grants.
Who can apply?
Marie Curie Fellowships are open to “experienced researchers” in any discipline and at any career stage who want to enhance their research skills and competences (IEFs), add an international dimension to their research (IOFs) or transfer knowledge into the European Union and enhance links with “third countries” (IIFs). In addition IEFs can be used to restart careers for people who’ve been research inactive for at least twelve months.
In all cases mobility is the key: the applicant fellow must move from one country to another for a period of 1 or 2 years (full-time equivalent) to carry out a research project and gain skills and experience relevant to his/her research career. IOFs also involve a mandatory 1-year return phase to the host organisation in the EU. The origin and destination country is different depending on the fellowship you’re applying for: IEFs must move from one EU member state or associated country to another; IIFs must move from outside the EU to a host institution within the EU; IOFs move from the EU to a host institution in a non-EU (“third”) country.
Applicants of any nationality are eligible for any of the Fellowships – what matters is where you’ve lived in the 3 years prior to the deadline date for the call: to be eligible an applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity for more than 12 months in the previous 3 years. For the career restart scheme, you need to have been based outside of the host institution country for more than 3 years of the past 5 and you must not have been active as a researcher for at least the previous 12 months (i.e. the 12 months prior to the deadline).
It’s worth de-mystifying some EU-speak which may put potential applicants off: an “experienced researcher” just means a researcher with a PhD or at least four years full-time research experience (measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate). It’s also worth emphasizing that the Marie Curie Fellowships are “bottom up”, meaning any research discipline is eligible to apply, including sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities.
What does it offer?
All three different Fellowships provide an attractive salary (approx €58K for researchers with <10 years experience; €87K for those with >10 years experience), a monthly mobility allowance to facilitate relocation (€700/month without a family, €1000/month with a family), a flat-rate contribution to research and training expenses (€800/month), as well as a contribution to overheads for the host department (€700/month).
Note that most of these amounts (except the research and training expenses) are subject to modification by a “correction coefficient”, which essentially means that they’re adjusted in line with living costs in the host country. So for fellows in the UK, the amounts are revised up by a factor of 1.34. The full list of rates and correction coefficients are given in the People Work Programme, Tables 3.2 and 3.3, at the end of the document.
How does the application process work?
The proposed fellow applies in conjunction with an EU host organisation (e.g. a university). The application is completed online on the EU Participant Portal and consists of two parts: Part A contains the basic administrative information including the proposal title, abstract, proposed evaluation panel, host institution, financial details, and some details about the researcher; Part B is where the applicant must detail the research proposal, training programme, researcher CV and achievements, implementation, and impact. Note that these sections are closely linked to the evaluation criteria, summarised below.
Potential applicants and hosts should carefully read the relevant Guidance for Applicants notes available on the call pages linked above. This provides a step-by-step guide to the completion and submission of the application and also gives full details on the evaluation process and timetable.
Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of five criteria: “Science and Technological” Quality (i.e. “research excellence” in RCUK-speak, and note that this doesn’t preclude applications from social sciences or humanities – this constitutes 25% of the overall mark); Training (15%); Researcher (25%); Implementation (15%); and Impact (20%). Each of these elements has a different weighting and individual threshold score and there is an overall quality threshold for the full application.
Northumbria staff are encouraged to think about whether you know any researchers outside of the UK who may be a potential candidate for these Fellowships and to contact the relevant Research Funding Manager in RBS at an early stage to start developing a bid. If you’re interested in applying for an outgoing fellowship to a host institution elsewhere in the EU (or globally) you should speak to your line manager and research lead as soon as possible to discuss practicalities and arrangements for the return phase, if relevant.
In addition, we intend to hold a briefing workshop for applicants interested in Marie Curie Fellowships in the near future and more details about this will follow on the blog and via email.