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The recently published results of the 2018 application round for the Individual Fellowships (IF) under the mobility programme Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) show that Danish institutions performed best among the European grant recipients. Of the 472 applications submitted by Danish host institutions, 83 of them were approved for a mobility grant. With around 50 grants the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) surpasses both the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Cambridge and Oxford Universities in terms of attracting international highly skilled researchers - the trend in the last three years, with the abovementioned institutions always being in the top-4 for many years.
We asked Senior EU Liaison Officer at the Office for Research Service of UCPH, Astrid Cermak, to account for such success. “In fact”, she explained, "the UCPH good performance is not so new since we have long experienced a high number of IF grants and all departments have had fellows under the MSCA programme which makes the programme well known to researchers around the university." According to Ms. Cermak, a fruitful opportunity offered by the UCPH are the Marie Curie Master Classes, organised each year for applicants, providing a 2-day intensive course on how to write successful proposals - with travel expenses for potential fellows covered by the university's departments.
“The existing networks and the renowned reputation of the university in providing applicants with one-to-one support in their application and evaluation process are of course also important elements. For example, this year, almost one fourth of the successful applications were “re-applications”, with an average success rate of almost 50% when re-applying, after having received detailed feedback on their application. Another crucial factor, leading to the high number of IF grants, is the coordinating effort by the Central Research Service in facilitating exchange of information and communication between the faculty research support teams”.
MSCA Individual Fellowships are awarded every year to outstanding researchers from all disciplines, to promote excellence and international mobility in research (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, November 2016 and March 2017). In 2018, from the 9 089 proposals submitted, 1 348 Individual Fellowships were awarded. This year, out of 9 830 applications, 1 351 researchers were awarded an MSCA Fellowship. The budget, part of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation, amounts to EUR 273 million in 2018, EUR 295 million in 2019 and EUR 325 million in 2020 thus envisaging a constant and significant increase every year.
A special thanks to Astrid Cermak from the ACA team for her precious insights and cooperation!