MSCA open call for doctoral and postdoctoral programmes

11 Oct 2023 Calls
MSCA Open Call

The Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND) 2023 call is open until 8 February 2024. 

Under this call, the European Commission will award €96.6 million to support regional, national and international training and career development programmes.

COFUND provides funding for institutional, regional, national or international programmes for training, career development and mobility, through co-funding mechanisms. The scheme spreads the MSCA’s best practices by promoting high standards and excellent working and employment conditions.

COFUND projects can take the form of

Doctoral Programmes   

  • offering doctoral candidates research training activities to develop and broaden their skills and competences    
  • leading to the award of a doctoral degree            

Postdoctoral Programmes

  • funding individual advanced research training and career development fellowships for postdoctoral researchers

Proposed programmes can cover any research disciplines ("bottom-up"), but can also focus on specific disciplines, notably when they are based on national or regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3 strategies). Funding synergies with Cohesion policy funds and the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) are strongly encouraged.

Who can apply?

A single organisation in an EU Member State or a Horizon Europe associated country applies.

Other partners can be included in the project to host and train researchers, such as

  • government entities      
  • regional authorities        
  • funding agencies             
  • universities        
  • research organisations  
  • enterprises

Organisations based outside these countries can join COFUND projects as associated partners to host and train doctoral and postdoctoral researchers.

Spreading best practices

COFUND spreads the MSCA’s best practices by promoting high standards and excellent working and employment conditions. It promotes sustainable training and international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility to

  • train researchers and innovators in academia and beyond 
  • allow them to enlarge their networks and share knowledge to carry out cutting-edge research
  • provide them with new knowledge, skills, career development perspectives and employability
  • boost their creativity and entrepreneurship

These programmes will also allow organisations to attract international talent and increase their attractiveness, their research and innovation capacities and their contribution to the local, regional and/or national socio-economic ecosystems.

Funded programmes will have to consider important aspects such as

  • open science
  • communication
  • community engagement
  • entrepreneurship
  • gender
  • ethics
  • high-quality supervision.

Who can apply?

A single legal entity in an EU Member State or a Horizon Europe Associated Country applies. Additional partners can be included in the project.

The types of organisations COFUND may work with include

  • government entities
  • regional authorities
  • funding agencies
  • universities
  • research organisations
  • enterprises

A beneficiary can receive a maximum of €10 million per call.

Seals of Excellence will be awarded to applications with a total score equal to or higher than 85%, but which cannot be funded due to lack of budget available under the call.

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

What does the funding cover?

COFUND projects should last for up to five years and should recruit at least 3 researchers.

COFUND funding helps host organisations cover for each supported researcher

  • a fixed amount (COFUND allowance) equivalent to the minimum salary that researchers should receive. This allowance can be used to support any cost items of the programme.
  • a long-term leave allowance and special needs allowance, if applicable

Researchers involved in COFUND projects

  • can be of any nationality (nationals or long-term residents of an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country, in case the main part of a Postdoctoral Fellowship is carried out in a non-associated Third Country)
  • are supported during a minimum of 3 months
  • 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 or implementing partner for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the deadline of the co-funded programme's call
  • can go on short term secondments
  • for COFUND Doctoral Programmes
    • must not have a doctoral degree
    • should be enrolled in a doctoral programme during the project
  • for COFUND Postdoctoral Programmes
    • must have a doctoral degree. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered as postdoctoral researchers and will be considered eligible to apply.
    • should not already be permanently employed by the organisation hosting them

For more information visit this page on how to apply. Note that the deadline for applications is 8 February 2024!