Getting a research fellowship goes beyond monetary grants and funding. A comprehensive fellowship program looks at your overall growth. You gain invaluable exposure through cross-border knowledge exchange and cross-sector mobility. You network extensively with like-minded researchers, and at the end, you develop employable skills that create breakthroughs in your field of work.
If you have been looking for a PhD grant that supports these ambitious dreams, the Marie Curie Fellowship could be for you. In this guide, you will find information on its funding, eligibility criteria and application process that will help you understand the grant and submit a successful fellowship application.
Marie Curie PhD Grant – What You Should Know?
The Marie Curie PhD grant is offered by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), a research support group created by the European Union (EU). The grant offers well-remunerated fellowship opportunities at top research facilities across Europe. It also provides excellent exposure to working in both academic and non-academic sectors.
Besides funding, the Marie Curie Individual Fellowships encourage communication, dissemination, and public engagement to facilitate independent thinking and leadership qualities. Every researcher goes through a series of training, seminars and workshops directed towards widening their research competencies.
At its core, the Marie Curie Fellowship aims to provide the following,
- Take multidisciplinary approaches to individual research and innovation.
- Empower researchers to respond to current and future challenges in their field.
- Allow researchers to have exposure to both academic and non-academic areas.
- Translate theoretical knowledge into tangible products and services.
- Develop research experience and employable skills transferable across industries and sectors.
Ultimately, the mission is to have researchers move from being academically centred to being better prepared for employability in public and private sectors.
You can hear about the experiences of past Marie Curie Individual Fellowship researchers in the below video interview:
Marie Curie Fellowship Activities & Training Program
The fellowship makes sure that its activities aren’t limited to monetary exchange. Instead, it takes a holistic and result-driven approach to research. Therefore, even though researchers in different fields set out on different tangents, they all go through a series of general activities which includes the following:
Career Development Plan
Every individual researcher works in tandem with the supervisor to sketch out a career development plan that defines their research objectives.
It also plans out their training program in a way that aligns with their career needs. Besides these core objectives, a career development plan schedules the production of research publications and conference participation.
Along with attending conferences, researchers get multiple networking opportunities to grow their network such as,
- Engaging in workshops.
- Being a part of network meetings.
- Collaborating with other individual researchers.
- Meeting with participating organisations and beneficiaries to understand their objectives.
At the end of the training period, every researcher must organise a networking event where they share their research outcomes and forge strong partnerships with fellow researchers.
After you have successfully published your research, it is time to publicise your work. The Marie Curie fellowship allows you to promote your work in front of the public, raising awareness about the research you have done. This not only gets the word out but also allows people to understand the impact of your research on society.
Public engagement forums can take the form of conferences, presentations at schools and universities and participation in research festivals.
One such noteworthy event is the European Researchers’ Night (NIGHT) which is held in September, all across Europe. The event is organised to encourage young minds to take an interest in academia and pursue a successful career in it.
Marie Curie Fellowship Eligibility
The Marie Curie Fellowship accepts PhD applications across all disciplines, irrespective of nationalities. The beneficiaries and partner organisations assign projects for every training network beforehand. Prospective students need to look out for a project that interests them and submit an application.
The eligibility criteria for most projects are as follows,
- Relevant Master’s degree or an equivalent qualification that demonstrates your suitability to undertake a doctoral degree.
- Transcript of grades.
- CV showcasing previous work experience and publications.
- Cover letter explaining why your candidature is the best fit for that project.
- Letter of recommendation or two contact references.
- Certificate of language proficiency, if required by the particular discipline.
Marie Curie Fellowship Funding
Most of your expenses are financed throughout the duration of your project. The funding covers the full cost of accommodation and travel. Besides that, you are also given a monthly living allowance.
Depending on your financial conditions, you may also apply for ‘Family Allowance’ and ‘Mobility Allowance’.
Monthly Living Allowance
Beneficiaries pay you living allowance every month in instalments. The allowance depends upon the country you will study and work in. However, for fellowships starting in 2020, this can be up to €4,880 per month.
The costs that include your travel and other related expenses fall under mobility allowance. For fellowships starting in 2020, this can be up to €600 per month.
Applicants are eligible for a €500 per month family allowance if they have a family, regardless of whether the family moves with them.
Having a family is proven by one of the following,
- Marriage certificate.
- A formal relationship status which stands equal to that of marriage in another region or country.
- Dependent children.
Marie Curie Fellowship Successful Application – Getting Started
The race to getting a PhD grant is highly competitive. Submitting a well-written proposal is not enough to make the cut. What you need to understand is the priorities of the European Commission and the thinking philosophy of the evaluators.
Structure of Application
The proposal comprises two parts – Administrative form (Part A) & Research proposal (Part B)
I) General information
Write the title of the proposal and define a project acronym. You should also include keywords related to your project and a 2000-character abstract for this section.
II) Administrative data of participating organisations
Specify contact information of the host department and the supervisor. Also, add your own information along with your Researcher ID, if you have one.
Once you fill in the duration of your project, cost to the researcher and the host institution, the budget is calculated automatically.
Ethics assessment is a self-declaration. It requires the applicants to fill in an “ethics issue table”.
Shed light on the quality, originality and credibility of your research. It should start with an introduction, a description, research aim and an overview of the action. You should also mention the research methodology and approach.
Explain how your research will help make advancement in your field. Explore the mutual benefit opportunity you and your host organisation will receive.
Explore the level of impact that your project will have, first on your research career and second on the European economy and society.
Your proposal should also demonstrate that your project will help advance research and make the research profession popular in the mainstream career.
This section deals with the allocation of tasks and resources regarding project deliverables and milestones.