Marie Curie Action Groups


This action aims to improve career perspectives of early-stage researchers in both public and private sectors, thereby making research careers more attractive to young people. This will be achieved through a trans-national networking mechanism, aimed at structuring the existing high quality initial research training capacity throughout Member States and associated countries. Direct or indirect involvement of organisations from different sectors, including (lead-) participation by private enterprises in appropriate fields, is considered essential in the action. In particular, the action aims to add to the employability of the recruited researchers through exposure to both academia and enterprise, thus extending the traditional academic research training setting and eliminating cultural and other barriers to mobility.


Institutions which are actively involved in research training (e.g. universities, public or private non-commercial research centres, large enterprises, SMEs, non-profit or charitable organisations, etc) will propose a research training network and apply for funding. If selected they will collaborate to recruit research fellows and provide them with opportunities to undertake research in the context of a joint research training programme. This programme should respond to well-identified needs in defined scientific or technological areas, expose the researcher to other sectors including private companies, and offer a comprehensive set of transferable skills (entrepreneurship, IPR, etc). It should reflect existing or planned research collaborations among the partners in which the fellow will take part through individual "training-through-research" projects.

Typical Activities of the Initial Training Network (ITN):

Networks will primarily propose a dedicated and high-level joint research training programme that focuses upon promoting scientific excellence and exploiting the specific research expertise and infrastructure of the participating partners and of the collective expertise of the network as a whole. These training programmes will address in particular the development and broadening of the research competences of the early-stage researchers. Such training activities might include:

  • Primarily, carefully supervised training through research by means of individual personalised projects within the frame of the research topics defined by the network;
  • Provision of structured training courses (e.g. tutoring, lecture courses) that are available either locally or from another participant of the network within the framework of the joint coordinated to maximise added value (e.g. joint syllabus development, opening up of local training to other network teams, joint Ph.D. programmes, etc.); intersectoral visits and secondments;
  • Invitation of visiting researchers originating from the public or private sector. This would be aimed at improving the skills and know-how of the fellows and should be duly justified in the context of the training programme. The network can cover costs of visiting researchers under cost category 3.
  • Development of network-wide training activities (e.g. workshops, summer schools) that exploit the interdisciplinary and intersectoral aspects of the project and exposure of the researchers to different schools of thought. This is applicable primarily to Multi-Partner ITNs and IDP. Further training activities with a particular view to widening the career prospects of the researchers would include:
    • Organisation of courses to provide transferable skills training both within and outside the network. Topics of interest could include entrepreneurship, management, communication, standardisation, management of IPR, ethics, grant writing, take up and exploitation of research results, research policy, etc.
    • Involvement in the organisation of network activities and other aspects such as proposal writing, enterprise start-up, task co-ordination, etc;
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