From January 2014, the Marie Curie Actions will be renamed the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA). They come under the "Excellent Science" pillar of Horizon 2020 and will award 6,162 million euro over the period 2014-2020.
The objective of the MSCA is to support the career development and training of researchers – with a focus on innovation skills – in all scientific disciplines through worldwide and cross-sector mobility. For this, the MSCA provide grants at all stages of researchers' careers, from PhD candidates to highly experienced researchers, and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The MSCA will become the main EU programme for doctoral training, funding 25 000 PhDs.
Endowing researchers with new skills and a wider range of competences, while offering them attractive working conditions, is a crucial aspect of the MSCA. In addition to mobility between countries, the MSCA also seek to break the real and perceived barriers between academic and other sectors, especially business. The MSCA follow a "bottom-up" approach, i.e. individuals and organisations working in any area of research can apply for funding. Several MSCA initiatives promote the involvement of industry etc. in doctoral and post-doctoral research.
ITNs support competitively selected joint research training and/or doctoral programmes, implemented by European partnerships of universities, research institutions, and non-academic organisations.
The research training programmes provide experience outside academia, hence developing innovation and employability skills. ITNs will include industrial doctorates, in which non-academic organisations have an equal role to universities in respect of the researcher's time and supervision, and joint doctoral degrees delivered by several universities. Furthermore, non-European organisations can participate as additional partners in ITNs, enabling doctoral-level candidates to gain experience outside Europe during their training.
Individual Fellowships will support the mobility of researchers within and beyond Europe - as well as helping to attract the best foreign researchers to work in the EU. The grant usually covers two years' salary, a mobility allowance, research costs and overheads for the host institution. Individual researchers submit proposals for funding in liaison with their planned host organisation. Proposals are judged on their research quality, the researcher's future career prospects, and the support offered by the host organisation. Fellows can also spend part of the fellowship elsewhere in Europe if this would boost impact, and those restarting their career in Europe benefit from special eligibility conditions.
RISE will support short-term mobility of research and innovation staff at all career levels, from the most junior (post-graduate) to the most senior (management), including also administrative and technical staff. It will be open to partnerships of universities, research institutions, and non-academic organisations both within and beyond Europe. In worldwide partnerships, academia-to-academia exchanges will be permitted.
The MSCA offer additional funding to regional, national and international programmes for research training and career development. COFUND programmes encourage the movement of researchers across borders and provide good working conditions. The scheme can support doctoral and fellowship programmes.
It is a Europe-wide public event to stimulate interest in research careers, especially among young people. The activities are focused on the general public and might take various forms such as hands-on experiments, science shows, debates, competitions or quizzes. The NIGHT takes place yearly, typically on the last Friday of the month of September.