Marie Curie – Innovative Training Network (ITN)

* update 8 April 2021

Next Funding calls under Horizon Europe

  • There are no calls left that can be applied for under the Horizon 2020 programme.
  • The next EU calls that can be applied for will be under the next EU framework programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027).
  • The MSCA Innovative Training Network (ITN) scheme under Horizon 2020 is now called MSCA Doctoral Networks under Horizon Europe.
  • The first MSCA Work Programme for 2021-2022 is expected to be published by mid-May. The MSCA Doctoral Networks 2021 Call will be released soon after, with an expected deadline of mid-November 2021.
  • EC has confirmed that the UK will be able to take part in the first Horizon Europe calls, before UK association is signed. This includes the MSCA calls.
  • For further information on the next EU framework programme and UK participation, please consult our Horizon Europe.

**

Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) were European-level training networks for researchers who are within the first four years of their research careers. They essentially funded training for PhD students.

There is no more call for ITNs under Horizon 2020. A similar scheme called ‘MSCA Doctorates’ will replace the ITN scheme (under Pillar I – Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions) in the next EU framework programme ‘Horizon Europe’.

ITNs were designed to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative ‘Early Stage Researchers’ (ESRs). After training, the ESRs should have the skills needed to proactively work and communicate across different disciplines, sectors and national boundaries.

The scheme also aimed to raise the quality of doctoral training and make it more structured across the EU. ITN projects provide research and transferable skills training at both individual ESR and network level.

ITN projects could last for a maximum of 48 months. The application could be based on any area of research apart from some atomic energy research that is covered by the Euratom Treaty.

The organisations that employ ESRs are known as ‘beneficiaries’. Other organisations that take part in the network but do not employer an ESR are known as ‘partner organisations’ (eg provide secondment, training opportunities).

ITN Models

There were three models of ITNs that could be applied for: European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates (EID) and European Joint Doctorates (EJD).

European Training Networks (ETN)

An ETN could apply for up to 540 months of ESR training. The minimum ESR employment period was three months and the maximum was 36 months – meaning up to 15, 36 month PhD fellowships could be applied for.

The criteria for an ETN were:

  • At least three different beneficiary organisations established in three different EU Member States or Associated Countries.
  • Above this minimum, additional organisations from anywhere in the world could participate in the network either as beneficiaries or partner organisations. Not all countries would have been funded to do so (please refer to General Annexes 20).
  • 6-10 beneficiaries was considered optimal for an ETN.
  • At least one beneficiary and other partner organisations should have been from the non-academic sector.

European Industrial Doctorates (EID)

An EID with two beneficiaries could apply for up to 180 months of ESR training (5 x 36 months PhD fellowships). A three + beneficiary EID could apply for up to 540 months of ESR training (15 x 36 months PhD fellowships).

The criteria for an EID were:

  • A minimum of two beneficiaries, based in two different EU Member States or Associated Countries.
  • At least one beneficiary must have been able to award a PhD and at least one must have been from the non-academic sector.
  • Additional beneficiaries and partner organisations could come from any country or sector, but not all countries would have been funded to participate.
  • The ESRs must have spent a minimum of 50% of their time in a non-academic sector organisation.

European Joint Doctorates (EJD)

An EJD could apply for up to 540 months of ESR training (15 x 36 months PhD fellowships). The ESRs must have been enrolled on joint, double or multiple award doctoral degree programmes.

The criteria for an EJD were:

  • At least three beneficiaries established in three different EU Member States or Associated Countries who employ the ESRs.
  • Above this minimum, additional organisations from anywhere in the world could participate in the network either as beneficiaries or partner organisations. Not all countries would have been funded to do so.
  • 4-8 beneficiaries in a proposal was typical.
  • Whenever possible at least one beneficiary should have been from the non-academic sector.

Reimbursement

The budget was calculated using unit costs based on the number of researcher months applied for.

Paid to the fellow*
Euros per ESR / per month
Paid to the beneficiary
Euros per ESR / per month
Living allowance Mobility allowance Family allowance Participation allowance Management & direct costs
3270 600 500 1800 1200

The living allowance is adjusted dependent on the country coefficient (see p.94-95) of the individual ESR’s beneficiary. Payment of family allowance is dependent on the personal circumstances of the individual ESR.

*Host employment costs are deducted from the allowances shown before the fellow is paid.

Evaluation, success rates and thresholds

Proposals were evaluated on three main criteria: the Excellence (50%)Impact (30%) and Implementation (20%) of the research & training programme.

Scores for successful applications vary by evaluation panel. In 2019, the lowest threshold was a score of 91.6% and the highest was 97.2% for an application to be successful. The overall success rates for the 2019 call were:

  • ETN 7.2%
  • EID 11.8%
  • EJD 11.7%

Marie Curie ITN@Leeds

The University of Leeds has an impressive track record of success under the ITN calls.

  • Under FP7 the University co-ordinated 14 networks and was a partner in a further 15, making it one of the most successful applicants to the scheme.
  • Under Horizon 2020 so far (2014-2018), the University has been awarded 24 co-ordinated ETNs, 8 co-ordinated EIDs and is a partner in further 20 ETNs and 1 EJD.

Project management & post-award

Successful ITN Coordinators usually employ part-time Project Managers to help them with the administrative management of their ITN project.

Post award support is also provided by the Faculty Research and Innovation Office and the EU Post Award Team.

Contact us

If you have any queries related to MSCA ITNs, please contact us.

For advice about network level transferable skills training available at Leeds, contact the Organisational Development and Professional Learning Team (OD&PL).

For advice about compliance with University rules on the award of PhDs to ITN fellows, contact Christina Robinson, Head of PGR Programmes, Leeds Doctoral College (ext. 34001).

To obtain Faculty approval for an application and to enter the application on the University’s Kristal system, contact your Faculty Research & Innovation Office.