Marie Curie – Postdoctoral Fellowships (PFs)

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) Individual Fellowships scheme under Horizon 2020 is now called MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships (PFs) under Horizon Europe.

Postdoctoral Fellowships (PFs) are fellowships for Postdoctoral Researchers.  At the call deadline, researchers need to be in possession of a doctoral degree, including successfully defended doctoral theses, even if the doctoral degree has yet to be awarded.

The aims of PFs are to:

  • Enhance the creative and innovative potential of postdoctoral researchers.
  • Add to/diversify the knowledge and skills of researchers.
  • Provide researchers with a period of international mobility.
  • Provide both research and transferable skills training.
  • Facilitate a two-way exchange of knowledge between the researchers and their host organisation(s).

The application can be based on any area of research, including areas covered by the Euratom Research and Training Programme 2021-2025.

Who can apply to MSCA PFs - general eligibility criteria

At the call deadline, applicants must:

  • be in possession of a doctoral degree or;
  • have successfully defended their doctoral thesis, with no further requirements, such as corrections, needing to be addressed.
  • have a maximum of 8 years full-time equivalent experience in research, measured from the date of award of the (first) doctoral.
    Years of experience outside research and career breaks (e.g. periods of teaching, break due to parental leave) will not count towards the amount of research experience.

For nationals or *long-term residents of EU Member States (MS) or Horizon Europe Associated Countries (AC) wishing to reintegrate to pursue their research career in an EU MS or AC, years of experience spent in research in third countries will not be considered in the above maximum. (*A long-term resident is a researcher who has spent a period of at least five consecutive years in one or more EU MS or AC).

Researchers wishing to reintegrate from a Third Country must:

  • either be based in a third country at the call deadline;
  • or have moved directly from a third country to the EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country hosting their fellowship within the last 12 months before the call deadline.

Types of MSCA PFs: European Fellowships & Global Fellowships & their specific eligibility criteria

There are two types of MSCA PF that can be applied for: European Fellowships (EFs) & Global Fellowships (GFs). These are described below. In addition to the general MSCA PF  eligibility criteria mentioned above, these two types of Fellowships have specific eligibility criteria.

European Fellowships (EFs)

EFs must last between 12 and 24 months. They are hosted by a research organisation in a MS or AC. The host organisation provides the researchers with a contract of employment for the duration of the project and a supervisor.

At the call deadline:

  • Researchers of any nationality can apply.
  • Researchers cannot have spent more than 12 months in the previous three years in the country that will host the fellowship.

Global Fellowships

GFs must last between 24 and 36 months. GFs have an outgoing phase in a Third Country. A Third Country is any country that is not an MS or AC. The outgoing phase lasts between 12 and 24 months.

The outgoing phase is followed by a mandatory 12 month return phase in an EU Member State or Associated Country. The return phase hosts usually provide the researcher with a contract of employment for the duration of the project. The return host supervisor has overall responsibility for the project. A supervisor is also required at the outgoing host organisation.

At the call deadline:

  • Researchers must be a national or have been a long-term resident of EU Member States (MS) or Horizon Europe Associated Countries (AC). A long-term resident is a researcher who has spent a period of at least five consecutive years in one or more EU Member States or Associated Countries.
  • Researcher must move, or have moved from, any country to a Third Country. Researcher cannot have spent more than 12 months in the previous three years in the Third Country that will host the outgoing phase of the fellowship.

Reimbursement rates (budget)

All Marie Curie PF budgets are calculated using unit costs based on the number of months applied for the project.

Paid to the fellow after host employment costs deducted
Euros per /month
Paid to the beneficiary (host organisation)
Euros per /month
Living allowanceMobility allowanceFamily allowance
(if applicable)
Long-term leave allowance (if applicable)Special needs allowance
(if applicable)
Research, training and networking contributionManagement & indirect contribution
EUR 5080EUR 600EUR 660EUR 5 680 x % covered by the beneficiaryRequested unit x (1/number of months)EUR 1000EUR 650
  • The living allowance is adjusted dependent on the country coefficient (see p.105-106) of the host organisation(s) involved. The UK country coefficient is 136.9%. 
  • Family allowance is dependent on the personal circumstances of the fellow (whether the researcher has family obligations or acquires family obligations during the action duration)
  • The long-term leave allowance contributes to the beneficiary’s pay obligations related to researchers’ leave, including maternity, paternity, parental, sick or special leave, longer than 30 consecutive days.
  • Special needs allowance contributes to the additional costs of researchers with disabilities.

Evaluation, Resubmission Restrictions and Success Rates

Evaluation

Proposals are evaluated on three main criteria: the Excellence (50%), Impact (30%) and Implementation (20%) of the research, knowledge transfer and career development programme. The quality of the fellow relative to their career stage is also taken into consideration.

A score of 90% or above is usually required for an application to be successful.

The cut-off score for funding for the different panels under the previous (2022) MSCA PF call can be found on the 2022 MSCA PF call page (under the section call updates).

Resubmission Restrictions

Proposals submitted to the previous (2022) MSCA PF call having received a score of less than 70% cannot resubmit to the following (2023) MSCA PF call. Resubmissions are proposals involving the same individual researcher and recruiting organisation(s). For Global Postdoctoral Fellowships, this includes the Third Country associated partner hosting the outgoing phase.

Success Rates

The success rates for the Horizon 2020 MSCA Individual Fellowship (IF) 2020 call were:

  • IF – Overall Scheme:  14.3%
  • IF – European Fellowships:  15.7%
  • IF – Global fellowships: 16.2%

Leeds IF success rate was 17% in 2020.

Why you should apply to MSCA PFs?

The University has an impressive track record of success for the Horizon 2020 MSCA Individual Fellowship scheme (predecessor of Horizon Europe MSCA PF).

  • During the seven years of FP7 calls, 53 individual fellowships have been awarded to the University.
  • Under Horizon 2020 (between 2014 and 2019), 95 fellowships have been awarded to the University.

How to apply & Deadline

  • For information on how to apply, please consult the MSCA PF Guide for Applicants for the 2023 call (coming soon).
  • After the call open, all call documents including the MSCA PF Guide for Applicants are available on the MSCA PF 2023 call page.
  • For more information on the MSCA programme including MSCA PF, please consult the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions Work Programme.

The next PF call for proposals will open on 12 April 2023 with a deadline of 13 September 2023.

Please note that the UK is eligible to apply to MSCA calls. For further information on UK participation in Horizon Europe, please consult our Horizon Europe page.

Support Available

If you wish to apply or have any queries related to MSCA PF, please contact the pre-award team. For more information on the support you can receive from our team, please consult our EU Funding brochure and Preparing an EU proposal page.

Links to the upcoming and previous webinars dedicated to the MSCA PF call, organised either by UKRO or the EU Team, will be available on our Events page.

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

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