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Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Developing talents, advancing research

Doctoral Networks

This page explains the purpose of the Doctoral Networks action and who can apply for it.

The information provided below is a summary of the main rules and requirements.

Objective of Doctoral Networks

The objective of Doctoral Networks is to implement doctoral programmes by partnerships of organisations from different sectors across Europe and beyond to train highly skilled doctoral candidates, stimulate their creativity, enhance their innovation capacities and boost their employability in the long-term.

Who can apply?

Doctoral Networks are open to international consortia of universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other non-academic organisations. They should include

  • at least three independent legal entities, each established in a different EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country and with at least one of them established in an EU Member State
  • on top of this minimum, other organisations from any country in the world can also join
  • specific conditions apply to Industrial and Joint Doctorates

As from 2022, resubmission restrictions will apply for applications that received a score below 80% the previous year.

Candidates wishing to apply for PhD positions under Doctoral Networks should apply to funded Doctoral Network projects by consulting their open vacancies advertised internationally, including on the EURAXESS portal.

Types of Doctoral Networks

Doctoral Networks implement doctoral programmes, by partnerships of universities, research institutions and infrastructures, businesses including SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond. These doctoral programmes will respond to well-identified needs in various research and innovation areas, expose the researchers to the academic and non-academic sectors, and offer research training, as well as transferable skills and competences relevant for innovation and long-term employability.

Besides standard Doctoral Networks, incentives have been introduced to promote two specific types of doctorates as well.

  1.  Industrial Doctorates. They train PhD candidates who wish develop their skills and step outside academia, in particular in industry and business. Individual participants must be enrolled in a doctoral programme and jointly supervised by the academic and non-academic partners.
  2. Joint Doctorates. They provide a highly integrated type of international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration in doctoral training leading to a joint doctoral degree or multiple doctoral degrees awarded by the participating institutions. PhD candidates must be enrolled in a joint programme and be jointly supervised.

What does the funding cover?

All areas of research may be funded and Doctoral Networks can last for up to four years. The duration of each fellowship is between three and 36 months. Each beneficiary must recruit at least one doctoral candidate and can also organise secondments for them anywhere in the world. Funding to recruit additional researchers is proposed as an incentive for Industrial and Joint Doctorates.

Researchers funded by Doctoral Networks

  • must not have a doctoral degree at the date of their recruitment
  • can be of any nationality
  • should be enrolled in a doctoral programme during the project
  • should spend at least 50% of their time outside academia, for Industrial Doctorates
  • should comply with the mobility rules: in general, they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting organisation for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date

The EU provides support for each recruited researcher in the form of

  • a living allowance
  • a mobility allowance
  • if applicable, family, long-term leave and special needs allowances

In addition, funding is provided for

  • research, training and networking activities
  • management and indirect costs