Marie Curie Research Programmes

Marie Curie Research Actions

Initial Training Networks (ITN)
Embarking on a research career is not always easy. And yet today’s young researchers are vital to Europe’s future. At Marie Curie Actions, we are well aware of that. So we want to make research careers more attractive to young people.

Our Initial Training Networks (ITN) offer early-stage researchers the opportunity to improve their research skills, join established research teams and enhance their career prospects.

Who can apply?
Well, it takes two to tango but three to network. So usually, at least three participants join together to propose a coherent programme for an ITN. The participants can be universities, research centres or companies (large or small).

There are some exceptions to the minimum of three. Single research organisations may sometimes get ITN support. But in this case, you must show quite clearly that the necessary elements of the research training programme are covered. So well-established, international collaboration with other research institutions will have to be demonstrated, even if there is no formal network.

Which topics can be funded?
Any research field in the humanities or science may qualify for ITN funding – provided that there is an element of mobility across national borders. But there is one exception: research areas covered by the EURATOM Treaty cannot be funded.

What does the funding cover?
Your network will recruit and employ eligible researchers or host them. You will be providing specialised training modules or other dedicated actions. The application should contain a strong element of transnational networking, aimed at structuring the existing high-quality initial research training capacity throughout EU Member States and Associated Countries.

Involvement of private commercial entities in your network is considered essential. It will help diversify the traditional research training settings and add to the employability of the recruited researchers.

An emphasis on interdisciplinary and newly emerging supradisciplinary fields will count in your proposal’s favour.

Training should be primarily through research on individual, personalised projects, complemented by substantial training modules in key transferable skills and competences to all fields.

Training topics may include:

Management and financing of research projects and programmes
Intellectual property rights
Means of exploiting research results
Entrepreneurship
Ethical aspects
Communication and societal outreach.
But that list is by no means exhaustive.

ITN funding supports:

Recruitment of researchers who are in the first five years of their career for initial training - for instance, they may be studying for a research-level degree (PhD or equivalent) or be doing initial post-doctoral research.
Networking activities, outreach activities, workshops or conferences that involve research staff from the participating research establishments and external researchers.
ITNs are for the recruitment of researchers from all over the world. Researchers supported by an ITN are normally required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up an appointment.

Successful proposals are funded for up to 4 years. Support provided by the networks to individual researchers may be from 3 to 36 months for early stage researchers or up to a maximum of 24 months for experienced researchers.

Who decides?
ITN proposals are selected in an open competition. Selection is through transparent, independent peer review, based on excellence using a series of pre-determined criteria.

How do we apply?
Proposals are submitted in reply to a call for proposals. Calls can be found on the “When to apply page” of the Marie Curie Actions website, which also contains all useful information about the actions: http://ec.europa.eu/mariecurieactions

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