Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the funding instrument implementing the Innovation Union. It aims to create new growth and jobs across Europe from 2014-2020 and replaces the seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Horizon 2020 has a €80 billion budget available over the seven years, a 46% increase over FP7. The main funding instruments that affect researchers are:

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions

The aim of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) is ‘to support the career development and training of researchers – with a focus on innovation skills – in all scientific disciplines through worldwide and cross-sector mobility’.

There are four types of MSCA funding streams:

  • Innovative Training Networks (ITN), which fund collaborative research training and/or doctoral programmes delivered through partnerships of universities, research institutes, and non-academic organisations. They can include industrial doctorates, joint doctorates and collaborations with non-European organisations. The training follows the EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training
  • Individual fellowships (IF), which support experienced researchers to undertake mobility between countries and/or the non-academic sector. They can include mobility within and beyond Europe and inward mobility for foreign researchers to work in the European Union
  • Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE), which supports the short-term mobility of research and innovation staff at all career levels, including administrative and technical staff. They can include inter-sectoral exchanges both within and beyond Europe, and worldwide academia-to-academia beyond Europe
  • Co-funding (COFUND) of regional, national and international research training and career development programmes that finance fellowships involving mobility to or from another country. This can include doctoral researchers and research staff.  

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions within Horizon 2020 recommend that the principles of the European Charter and Code to be endorsed and applied by all funded organisations. All funding applications are required to include a career development plan for researchers. In addition to research objectives, this plan comprises the researcher's training and career needs. This is expected to ‘enhance skills development and knowledge-sharing, enhancing researchers' employability and providing them with new career perspectives’.