MSCA Individual Fellowships: New opportunities for Brazilian researchers and Brazilian host institutions
By Elisa Natola, MSCA National Contact Point for Brazil, Brazilian National Council of State Funding Agencies (CONFAP)
Within the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA), a new call for 2017 Individual Fellowships has been launched in April , thus offering a challenging opportunity for both Brazilian Researchers and Brazilian Host Institutions.
Individual Fellowships are divided in two main branches European Fellowships and Global Fellowships, both characterised by the goal of promoting excellent science, career development, international and intersectoral mobility, transfer and exchange of knowledge, focus on research and innovation.
This particular Action of MSCA is the most appealing to Brazilian researchers and Brazilian Institutions, due to the fact that its eligibility criteria allow Brazilian researchers to be active candidates, entitled to receive EU funding, and in the same dimension, Brazilian Host institutions are eligible to host researchers coming from the European Union and Associated countries (EU/AC).
A feature which characterises Individual Fellowships, as all MSCA, is that the programme is totally bottom up; therefore open to all fields of knowledge, thus offering a unique flexibility and variety of research topics for project proponents.
In the case of a European Fellowship, the researcher can move 1/ within Europe or 2/ from a third country (including Brazil) to any European member states or Associated Countries.
In the case of a Global Fellowship, the researcher moves from Europe to any Third Country, including Brazil, and then goes back to his/her host institution in Europe. For Brazil in particular, this means mobility opportunities with any of the 28 countries which are part of the European Union, and the 16 associated countries, thus giving a wide range of options and possibilities to implement such exchanges.
Mobility flows need to follow several rules in order to match the eligibility criteria of the call.
Firstly, eligibility regards the type of researchers who can apply >> Experienced researchers who, at the date of the call deadline, are in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience.
Detailed eligibility conditions should be checked in the guiding documents of the call, which detail different specific cases.
As for the duration of mobility flows, in European fellowships, the overall duration ranges from 12 to 24 months, whereas for Global Fellowships, such timeframe has an obligatory extension of 12 months, in which the researcher has to return to his/her host institution in the EU/AC.
Individual European Fellowships offer a wide range of options which reflect different needs and demands of researchers, and are aimed in particular to support experienced researchers to undertake international and inter-sector mobility (through the European Fellowships - Society and Enterprise Panel), including career restart* and reintegration**.
Global fellowships are still underused to host EU researchers in Brazil It can be observed that the majority of projects with Brazilian participation have been within the European Fellowships option, therefore with Brazilian researchers going to Europe and Associated countries, whereas the Global Fellowships have not been exploited adequately yet.
Such an opportunity could be widely promoted, so that Brazilian Research Institutions could take advantage of the upcoming IF call to attract excellent researchers from the EU/AC to their premises. Brazilian research institutions (being them public or private universities, research centres or company) interested in hosting a MSCA individual (global) fellow should:
- Express their interest on EURAXESS host tool, or through the Net4Mobility Expressions of Interest webpage***
- Invite your partners, being host institutions or individuals, reminding them that the European Commission can fund their research stay in Brazil for up to two years.
Preparing a proposal
Some practical orientations can be kept in mind, in preparing a proposal for the forthcoming call:
- Proponents should start constructing the proposal as soon as possible, in order to focus the project on its conception and elaboration;
- Researchers should coordinate the proposal with the host Institution and with the supervisor, who agrees and whose details are included in the proposal;
- Proponents should previously study the guiding documents of the programme and the call, including the Policy background, in particular on the European side
- If the researcher has already submitted a proposal which has not been approved, the evaluation received by the EC can contain useful orientations on how to improve the proposal, i.e. which elements need to be strengthened, in order to be successful for a future application
- Proposals should be drafted keeping in mind the evaluation and award criteria, which orient the content of each section of the project. Each criterion has a different weight in evaluation, namely: Excellence 50%, Impact 30%, Implementation 20%. Such criteria are detailed in sub criteria which contain important elements which have to be addressed and highlighted in the project;
- Researchers can ask the NCP network or EURAXESS Brazil for support and guidance on technical issues or for networking and matchmaking purposes.
- Follow the orientations for project elaboration detailed in the IF “Guide for Applicants” and see practical tips in the Net4Mobility “Survivor’s Guide to MSCA-IF”
Brazilian Researchers and Brazilian Institutions are strongly encouraged to apply to MSCA, as Brazil is a strategic cooperation country for the European Union, and Mobility schemes are a strong asset in this dimension.