Seal of Excellence for Individual Researchers

The Commission awarded Seal of Excellence certificates to applicants for MSCA Individual Fellowships in 2020

With a record 11,300-plus proposals received for the 2020 Individual Fellowships call, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are highly competitive. Of this number, 1,630 were funded.

High quality applications

The MSCA Seal of Excellence (SoE) is a quality label awarded to applicants for MSCA Individual Fellowships (IF) who achieved a high score in their applications but ultimately did not get funding because of budget constraints.

By affirming proposals scoring 85% or more, the SoE underlines the value of these projects. People proposing these projects may then use their SoE recognition to help find alternative funding. The Horizon 2020 programme awarded the Seal of Excellence to over 11,900 IF proposals.

Thanks to SoE, other funding bodies are in a position to leverage the Horizon 2020 evaluation process if they wish. A proposal which has earned the MSCA SoE may be supported by national, regional and university-level schemes.

Germany and the Netherlands recently set up support schemes for SoE recipients, bringing to 12 the total number of countries with such schemes.

Widening participation

The MSCA Seal of Excellence supports those countries which are negatively affected by brain circulation, usually referred to as “widening countries”.

Supporting these countries through an integrated approach promotes a more balanced brain circulation. This is in line with the previous “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation” package under Horizon 2020 and the new Widening Strategy for Horizon Europe.

The SoE allows national authorities to implement a funding scheme compatible with their own strategies. These schemes are used to attract leading talent from abroad, including diaspora researchers, increasing the visibility and attractiveness of their host institutions at an international level.

Also, they can benefit from an independent, international evaluation which has already taken place.

Horizon Europe

MSCA is the European Union’s flagship programme to support scientific excellence and cooperation across countries, sectors and research fields. Horizon Europe is the new EU Research and Innovation programme for the period 2021-2027.

The MSCA Seal of Excellence will continue being  awarded under MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships Calls as part of the Horizon Europe programme.

Additionally, the MSCA SoE will be awarded to MSCA COFUND applications scoring 85% or more, but which cannot be funded due to budget constraints.

Further reading

Follow the link to the Seal of Excellence page for a complete list of the available support schemes for MSCA Seal of Excellence holders.