MSCA Doctoral Networks
What’s it all about?
The Doctoral Networks (DN) support transnational doctoral programmes with different institutions/organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors. The aim is to improve the career opportunities for researchers through international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility, to strengthen the transfer of knowledge between the participating institutions and to increase the quality of doctoral programmes.
What needs to be considered?
Networks applying must include at least three independent legal entities/institutions from three different EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries. All beneficiaries must employ at least one doctoral candidate for the project. The members of a consortium can be universities, research institutions, non-academic institutions and companies (especially SMEs). Secondments of doctoral candidates within a consortium to other institutions are expressly encouraged, but these may not take up more than 1/3 of the project duration (exception: industrial doctorates).
The Doctoral Networks are divided into three categories, for which further specific conditions apply:
Doctoral Networks: at least one of the institutions of the network must be located in an EU Member State.
Industrial Doctorates: at least two institutions of the network must be assigned to the academic or non-academic sector. Doctoral candidates must spend at least 50% of their time in the non-academic sector.
Joint Doctorates: at least three institutions of the network must be entitled to award doctorates, of which at least two institutions should be entitled to award a joint, double or multiple doctorate. Moreover, these must be located in different EU Member States or Associated Countries of Horizon Europe. Furthermore, at least two of the doctoral candidates must be enrolled in a doctoral programme.
For all employed doctoral researchers, the mobility rule applies: they may not have lived or worked in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months in the 36 months prior to the start of the employment.
What is funded?
Funding is provided for doctoral programmes with a maximum duration of four years and a maximum funding of 360 person-months (full-time positions). Up to 540 person-months can be funded in the funding categories for the Industrial Doctorates and Joint Doctorates. No more than 40% of the EU contribution may be allocated to beneficiaries in the same country. This applies equally to international organisations and International European Research Organisations (IERO), whereby no more than 40% of the total funding may go to the same organisation.
The Doctoral Networks are financed through institutional funding for research, training and network costs, management and indirect costs. Furthermore, doctoral candidates receive a salary together with mobility allowances as part of their full-time employment contract. The institution may, if necessary, apply for further allowances to cover the costs of longer absences of researchers and a lump sum for researchers with reduced mobility. The length of employment for doctoral candidates can be a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of up to 36 months.
Who is eligible?
Applications are open to international and inter-sectoral networks from all research disciplines that have set up a joint doctoral programme and meet the respective minimum requirements of the three programme categories.
When will the calls be published?
Applications can be submitted online via the Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal at set annual Call deadlines. Further information on eligibility can also be found in the Guide for Applicants of the respective Call and in the MSCA Work Programme.
The application should follow the structure of the Doctoral Networks Template and may not be longer than 30 pages (excluding attachments). All proposals will have to indicate if they are resubmitted from the previous MSCA Doctoral Networks calls. Resubmissions are possible in principle, but the quality threshold of 80% must have been reached in the previous year's application in order to resubmit. Apart from that, project proposals are considered to be resubmissions if 70% of the consortium and 70% of the project content are congruent with the proposal to be resubmitted.
The applications will be assessed by experts in one of eight scientific panels with a maximum of 5 points by experts in each of the three criteria "Excellence", "Impact" and "Quality and efficiency of the implementation". "Excellence" accounts for 50% of the overall rating, "Impact" for 30% and "Quality and efficiency of the implementation" for 20%. Each of the eight panels will create a separate ranking list. To be eligible for funding, an application must reach at least an overall threshold of 70%.
A time frame of eight months can be expected from the end of the submission period to the start of the project.