UKRO on the future of Marie Curie Fellowships in Horizon 2020

UKRO (UK Research Office) recently attended a workshop in Brussels on the future of the Marie Curie Actions within the new Horizon 2020 programme (effectively FP8, plus CIP and EIT).

Their report is useful reading for anyone with an interest in the direction of EU support for individual researchers and mobility. You can read it in full by logging into the UKRO website.

In summary:

  • Most (70%) who responded to the recent EC survey on the future of the Framework Programme considered the Marie Curie Actions important and called for a higher budget, both for the individual fellowships for experienced researchers (post-PhD) as well as early career researcher training (currently the ITNs).
  • There were also calls from the consultation to increase employer/industry involvement in these areas. Closer cooperation with business is highly likely in Horizon 2020.
  • Marie Curie will be maintained as a “bottom up” opportunity open to all research areas. It will also continue to promote mobility and cross-border collaboration.
  • The current 8 actions will be rationalised to 4:
    • ITNs (Initial Training Networks) will cover innovative PhD training, industrial doctorates, and training networks. It will increase future employer involvement in the training.
    • Career Development for Experienced Researchers (IEFs and IIFs under FP7): will cover portable mobility grants and cross-border mobility within the EU. It’s likely that IOFs (International Outgoing Fellowships, i.e. from EU to a country outside the EU) will no longer be available.
    • Research and Innovation Staff Exchange will effectively combine the present IRSES (International Research Staff Exchange Scheme) and IAPP (Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways) into one scheme which will be host-driven allowing for short-term secondments of staff at all career levels through collaborative projects.
    • CO-FUND: the operation of this action is unclear at the moment but it may allow funders from different EU member states to bid for a co-funded PhD training network onto which they could recruit doctoral students, for example.
  • Of the 4 above actions, it is likely that funding for CO-FUND will be increased, and the other three will be maintained at equivalent levels to FP7.