MSCA co-funds doctoral training and postdoctoral fellowship programmes with €96.2 million

The European Commission will provide co-funding for 12 doctoral training and 15 postdoctoral fellowship programmes.

The European Commission has announced the results of the 2023 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) call for Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND), part of the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation Horizon Europe.

The European Commission will provide €96.2 million to fund 27 COFUND projects. These include 12 doctoral training programmes and 15 post-doctoral fellowship programmes of outstanding quality.

Through COFUND, organisations can create or enhance their own doctoral training and postdoctoral fellowship programmes, with the goal of recruiting researchers and attracting international talent with MSCA co-funding a significant share of their costs. Institutions benefiting from such funding need to top it up with their own funding sources.

This scheme spreads the MSCA’s best practices by promoting high standards and excellent working conditions and allows organisations to increase their attractiveness and research and innovation capacities.

International cooperation

The European Research Executive Agency (REA) received 106 applications for this call, of which 102 were eligible and were evaluated. With 27 selected projects, the success rate for this call is 26.5%.

These collaborative programmes are implemented by international partnerships. They cover over 359 organisations in 35 countries in the EU, countries associated to Horizon Europe and beyond, including 105 companies and 60 small and medium-sized enterprises.

Coordinating organisations

Selected projects are coordinated by organisations in 13 countries

  • Spain and France: 6 projects each
  • Ireland: 3 projects
  • Finland and Denmark: 2 projects each
  • Czechia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Türkiye: 1 each

Project partners

These projects have partners from the following EU member states and countries associated to Horizon Europe

  • Spain: 58 participations
  • France: 57
  • Finland: 39
  • Sweden: 29
  • Germany: 24
  • Denmark: 21
  • Czechia: 19
  • Italy: 18
  • Belgium and Poland: 12 each
  • The Netherlands: 10
  • Hungary and Slovenia: 8 each
  • Ireland: 7
  • Norway: 4
  • Austria, Estonia and Portugal: 3 each
  • Greece, Croatia and Romania: 2 each
  • Cyprus, Malta, Lithuania, Türkiye and Ukraine: 1 each

Associated partners

The call was also open to organisations based outside these countries, which can join projects as associated partners.

The projects have the following participations by third countries

  • United Kingdom*: 13 participations
  • Canada, Switzerland and the United States: 8 each
  • Australia: 5
  • Japan: 2
  • India, Vietnam and Ghana: 1 each

Since 2014 the MSCA have supported 300 COFUND projects, including those funded in this round.

* United Kingdom’s association to Horizon Europe was not yet in force for this call. Therefore, coordinating organisations based in this country will be able to participate as associated partners only.

Frontier research in all fields

Selected projects span various scientific disciplines and will train skilled and innovative researchers in areas such as

  • advancing research in the EU’s agrifood technology sector to improve its sustainability and adapt it to the threats posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and resource scarcity
  • the ethical, human-centric and sustainable use of Artificial Intelligence in multiple sectors and the development technological solutions for safer, interoperable and more robust  Artificial Intelligence systems
  • quantum theory, materials, technologies, computing and information to tackle the upcoming challenges of the second quantum revolution
  • sciences of light, ranging from fundamental physics to technological applications in photonics, quantum mechanics and biomedicine
  • translating interdisciplinary research-based knowledge in climate mitigation and adaptation into helping solve real world problems and challenges

While some of these are multidisciplinary research and training projects, others were developed fully with a bottom-up approach.

An overview of the evaluation results, cut-off scores and statistics has been published on the MSCA COFUND 2023 call page.

Once the grant agreements are finalised, the complete list of funded projects will be published on the afore-mentioned page and on CORDIS.

High-quality programmes

Selected programmes will promote international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration to

  • foster high quality training of around 800 researchers and innovators at doctoral and postdoctoral level in academia and beyond
  • allow them to enlarge their networks and share knowledge to carry out cutting-edge research
  • provide them with new knowledge, skills (including transferable skills) and career development perspectives
  • boost their creativity and entrepreneurship

They will carefully consider important aspects such as

  • open science
  • community engagement
  • entrepreneurship
  • gender in research and innovation content
  • ethics
  • high-quality supervision

These programmes will allow organisations to

  • attract international talent to EU Member States and regions
  • increase visibility and attractiveness
  • boost research and innovation capacities

A number of projects are also linked to European University Alliances.

Next steps for successful applicants

The European Research Executive Agency sent out letters on the results of the evaluation to inform applicants of the outcome of the selection.

Applicants should be able to access the results of the evaluation on their personal space of the Funding and Tenders Opportunities Portal.

The letter sent out to the successful applicants contains all the instructions about the next steps to prepare the grant agreement with the agency.

The first projects will start at the earliest in late summer 2024. Projects on the reserve list will be contacted once all the grants have been signed.

Next funding round open now

The 2024 call for COFUND is now open for submissions and will close on 26 September 2024.

Source: European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions) | What’s new (