To encourage and facilitate international mobility, the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme offers funding opportunities through the “Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions” (MSCA). The aim is to enable companies to benefit – for a maximum period of two years – from a dedicated researcher working in a very specific field of expertise that they have defined upfront.
The expenses covered by these grants include living expenses, travel expenses and family expenses. In addition, the EU also contributes to the training, networking and research costs of the academic, as well as to the management and indirect costs of the project. The grant is awarded directly to the company hosting the researcher, with a success rate for funding applications of between 25% and 30% for companies.
Once a year, the European Commission organises a call for companies and public research that may be interested. This has been the case since the beginning of November 2019. “We have noted an increase in the interest shown by Luxembourg companies during this last call”, says Charles Betz, PhD, Advisor – European R&D and Innovation Support at Luxinnovation, the national contact point for European programmes. “This is not easy, because it is a long-term process: the results of the current call will only be announced in February 2021 and the selected projects can start as early as May 2021. To take advantage of our prospecting services, requests must be received by December 10.”
Once the needs and expectations of the companies have been collected, a worldwide prospecting phase will be initiated in order to find the rare pearls, experts specialised in the identified fields. “Unlike other countries that simply offer more static platforms, we do dynamic research and direct contacts,” explains Charles Betz. After validation by the companies, the candidates will be trained and accompanied by Luxinnovation when writing the application, which will be submitted to the Commission before September 2020.
Last July, the European Commission announced that 1.046 billion euros (almost 10% of the 2020 budget of the Horizon 2020 programme) is planned to be allocated to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie initiative. This is the largest annual budget ACEM has ever had to devote to funding international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training and mobility. With such an allocated budget, the mechanism should be able to finance nearly 2,000 projects involving more than 10,500 researchers:
Luxembourg companies interested in such a programme need to contact Charles Betz, Advisor, European R&D and innovation support before 10 December.