Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA)

Introduction to Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) is the Union’s reference programme for doctoral education and postdoctoral training.


  • Training through excellent research,
  • Equipping researchers with new knowledge and skills
  • Providing researchers with an international as well as inter-sectoral exposure (including through academia-business collaboration)

Strong international dimension

  • International cooperation is particularly encouraged
  • It allows institutions to set-up strategic collaborations worldwide, and attract foreign talents to Europe
  • It provides European researchers with access to unique expertise, facilities, testing environments or data available only outside Europe.


  • Principle of physical mobility, between countries, sectors and disciplines

Open to all domains

  • Topic can be chosen freely by the applicants in a fully bottom-up manner. 

Find calls on the European Commission webpage.

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA-PF)

  • For Ghent University researchers who wish to go abroad: check our internal page.
  • For external researchers who want to come to Ghent University or are already working here less then 12 months before the submission deadline, there is an external webpage.
  • Looking for other opportunities abroadcheck the Euraxess website.

MSCA Doctoral Networks (MSCA-DN)

  • For who?   Researchers who wish to collaborate with other European Universities, research institutions and non-academic partners, and who wish to hire and train one or more PhD students in this project.
  • Why?  Doctoral Networks support joint training- and doctoral programmes, set up by a European partnership of universities, research organizations and non-academic organizations.  Training should offer experience outside academia, strengthening the competences of the early-stage researchers.
  • How? MSCA Doctoral Networks last four years (project duration 48 Months) and provide funding to hire up to 10 PhD students each for 36 months, with research and networking costs, and a fee for management and overhead costs. For PhD students hired at Ghent University, the fourth year is paid for by the internal Special Research Fund (BOF).
  • MSCA Doctoral Networks are encouraged to lead to Industrial or Joint Doctorates. In those cases, funding for up to 15 PhD students is provided. In the case of Joint PhDs, a pre-agreement letter, signed by the Rector, needs to be submitted together with the proposal.
  • Important: Proposals for DN-Joint Doctorates need to be pre-registered at at least one month before the submission deadline, for an internal check by the Doctoral Schools advisors. Please send:
    1. Name of the (foreign) universities with which Ghent University will enter into a joint doctorate
    2. Specific information on the proposal: admission, selection, supervision, monitoring and assessment procedures for the joint PhDs  (checklist for joint PhD's)
  • Non-European partners can participate in this programme, e.g. as a partner organisation, to give researchers the opportunity to gain experience outside Europe. 

Staff Exchanges (MSCA-SE)

The Staff Exchanges scheme supports short term mobility of research staff already hired by the participating organizations. All research staff (from junior to senior) is eligible, including administrative and technical staff. Consortia of universities, research institutes and non-academic organizations in and outside of Europe can apply. Mobility should be cross-sectoral, or international (between Europe and Third Countries).

This type of project can be designed with at least 3 partners from three different Member States or Associated Countries. Projects receive a unit cost per person month that staff members are mobile, however staff costs are not funded.


MSCA COFUND co-finances new or existing doctoral programmes and postdoctoral fellowship schemes with the aim of spreading the best practices of the MSCA including international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research training, as well as transnational and cross-sectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their career.

In practice, MSCA COFUND provides complementary funding for doctoral or postdoctoral programmes managed by entities established in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries. Those co-funded programmes must follow MSCA’s good practice in terms of international recruitment and minimum standard of employment for the recruited fellows as described in the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.


MSCA and Citizens aims to bring research and researchers closer to the public at large, to increase awareness of research and innovation activities and to boost public recognition of science and research education. It will show the role of the researcher in and for the society and economy and the impact of researchers’ work on citizens’ daily life, and will raise the interest of young people for research and scientific careers.

MSCA and Citizens will address the general public, attracting people regardless of the level of their scientific background, with a specific focus on families, pupils, students, and notably those who do not have easy access to, and thus are less inclined to engage in, STEAM or research activities. Inclusiveness should be key, in view of broadening access to science and research to all.

MSCA mobility rule

MSCA aims to promote researcher mobility and training, to improve career perspectives.
There is a basic mobility rule for recruiting people: researchers can’t have resided in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months in the three years prior to the reference date of the call.

The reference date is the date of recruitment for MSCA-DN, and the date of the call deadline for MSCA-PF. For Staff Exchanges the mobility rule is not valid for secondments.

Check the Work Programme on the MSCA webpage of the European Commission of each call to know the exact eligibility criteria.

Thinking about applying for an MSCA?

Ghent University's EU team is very experienced in the MSCA programme.

  • For all questions regarding eligibility criteria, administrative forms and legal advice, contact our project advisors at
  • To discuss your project idea or for any questions regarding the content of your proposal, contact (09 264 31 06).