European Commission to support Over 1,500 Doctoral Candidates through First Horizon Europe MSCA Doctoral Networks

A total of 144 doctoral programmes will receive €405 million through the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks, potentially supporting over 1,500 doctoral candidates.

The European Commission has announced that 144 doctoral programmes will receive €405 million through the first Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks round to launch under Horizon Europe. The funding has the potential to support over 1,500 doctoral candidates.

MSCA is the EU’s flagship programme to support scientific excellence and cooperation across countries, sectors and research fields. It aims to encourage more young people to pursue a career in research and promote Europe’s attractiveness for leading global talent.

MSCA Doctoral Networks support doctoral programmes by partnerships of universities, research institutions and infrastructures, businesses including SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond. Proposals for doctoral networks can reflect existing or planned research partnerships among the participating organisations. All areas of research may be funded and the networks can last for up to four years. Each beneficiary must recruit at least one doctoral candidate and can also organise secondments for them anywhere in the world.

In addition to standard Doctoral Networks, the following types of doctorates are also available:

  1. Industrial Doctorates train PhD candidates who wish to develop their skills outside academia, in particular in industry and business. Individual participants must be enrolled in a doctoral programme and jointly supervised by the academic and non-academic partners.
  2. Joint Doctorates provide a highly integrated form of international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration in doctoral training leading to a joint doctoral degree or multiple doctoral degrees awarded by the participating institutions. PhD candidates must be enrolled in a joint programme and be jointly supervised.

The 2021 round of Networks was open for applications between 22 June 2021 and 16 November 2021. A total of 1,076 applications were submitted, equating to a success rate of 13.38%. Together, the successful partnerships cover nearly 1,160 organisations based in 38 countries in the EU, countries associated to Horizon Europe and beyond, including 232 from the private sector, 120 of which are SMEs.

Of the 144 successful programmes, 18 are for Industrial Doctorates and will train doctoral candidates in areas such as development of fast-charging stations for electric mobility, AI for microelectronics or 6G technologies, while 10 are for Joint Doctorates, and will cover the treatment of Alzheimer’s and glaucoma among other topics.

Successful programmes fell in the disciplines of:

  • Engineering and ICT: 33%
  • Life sciences: 24%
  • Chemistry: 13%
  • Environment and geosciences: 10%
  • Social sciences and humanities: 10%
  • Physics: 8%
  • Economics: 1%
  • Mathematics: 1%

The next round of MSCA Doctoral Networks is scheduled to open for applications on 3 May with a deadline of 15 November 2022.