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Marie CurieAbout 35 participants joined Luxinnovation’s event to get more information about the different Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowships for postdocs, successful proposal writing and the Marie Curie Alumni Association.

The idea of MSCA is to finance talented young researchers who could follow in the footsteps of double Nobel laureate Marie Skłodowska-Curie, who moved from her native Poland to France and later back to Poland again during her outstanding research career. MSCA fellowships are more than just funding. “It’s about visibility, career impact, experience, networking and EU context,” explains Charles Betz, Advisor – European R&D and Innovation Support at Luxinnovation.

Call deadline in September

“The next deadline for submitting MSCA proposals is 11 September 2019, but it is preferable to submit a proposal as early as possible,” explains Charles Betz. The results of the proposal evaluation will be known in February 2020, and the earliest start of projects will be May 2020.

Charles Betz recommends using and repeating certain keywords in the proposal, such as the development of a researcher’s career, his/her leadership skills and the mutually beneficial relationship between the host and the researcher. “It is also important to make sure that all aspects of the projects are clearly explained and that it is easy to get an overview of all the main points of the proposals,” he points out. “Evaluators only have very limited time to read each proposal, and if they have to reread texts in order to understand or go back and forth between pages to get the full picture this can have a negative impact on their evaluation.”

The general success rate of MSCA Individual Fellowships proposals is 12-13%, more recently even 14-15%. Good quality proposals normally have a much higher success rate. Candidates will receive the reviewer’s comments to understand the weak points of their proposals, and when this feedback is taken into account, resubmitted proposals generally have a higher success rate.

Exchange with the MSCA Alumni Association

For the first time, the Benelux chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association joined Luxinnovation’s MSCA event and presented its work. The objective of the association is to bring together MSCA fellows and alumni, to encourage local networking, establish mutually beneficial relationships and initiate activities. In total, the association has 34 chapters presenting the different regions.

Support with finding suitable research candidates through MSCA

MSCA Individual Fellowships (IF) are an efficient way to finance postdoctoral researchers working in a research group or company by 100%. Therefore, Luxinnovation launched an action in early 2019 to support Luxembourg organisations with attracting researchers through MSCA.

In total, Luxinnovation received 33 expressions of interest from Luxembourg organisations wishing to benefit from the agency’s support in the search for suitable candidates. 16 of the requests came from private companies. Luxinnovation thus collected CVs from almost 200 researchers, mostly from the EU but also from the UK, the United States, Canada and Australia, with profiles that matched the needs of the Luxembourg organisations. Interviews with 37 candidates have already been organised.

Luxinnovation is the National Contact Point for Horizon 2020, the European framework programme for research and innovation. Building on our decade-long experience of EU funding programmes, we are able to respond to questions on where to get up-to-date information on programmes and calls for project proposals, what programmes are the most suitable for you or where and how to find European partners.

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