Click on the sliders below to find details on each step.
Step 0: Make sure that you are eligible for MSCA-PF-2021
Who? Postdoctoral Researcher
How? Briefly, to be elegible, you must:
- Be an Postdoctoral Researcher (PR) by the date of the deadline (meaning, having defended your doctoral thesis)
- NEW Have a maximum of 8 years of postdoctoral experience by the date of the deadline (career breaks or years spent outside R&D do not count, and for nationals/residents of MS or AC reintegrating into a MS or AC, neither do years spent in third countries)
- Comply with the appropriate rules of mobility;
Check that you meet the eligibility conditions for this call established in the MSCA 2021-2022 Work Programme, pages 86-87 (also linked below, in Step 5).
There are 2 types of MSCA-PF, with different elegibility conditions: European Fellowships and Global Fellowships (GF). Select the type of action you will apply to in the MSCA-PF program and make sure you comply with the specific set of eligibility conditions.
Step 1: Notify your intention to apply for a MSCA-PF
Who? Scientific Supervisor & Postdoctoral Researcher
Step 2: Create an account in EU login
Who? Postdoctoral Researcher
How? In order to be able to access the application for the preparation and submission of the project proposal you must create an account in the EU login service. For this purpose follow the directions in this link.
Step 3: Register your proposal in the Funding & Tenders Portal Submission Service
Who? Postdoctoral Researcher
How? Log into the Funding & Tenders Opportunities portal (top right corner) using your EU login account credentials. Then, open the webpage for the 2021 call and scroll down to the "Submission service / Start Submission" section.
You should select the option appropriate to the type of action you intend to apply for (see Step 0) and click on the "Start Submission" button. Now a disclaimer should appear. Confirm the acceptance of the conditions and a new window will open in the browser, leading you to the Portal Submission Service*.
- In this new screen you will find the links to the official templates to write your proposal, download them.
- Afterwards, continue registering the proposal in the EC system. Get detailed directions following this link
In order to register your proposal you will need the following information:
- Beneficiary: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- Participant Identification Code: 999874546
- In the field "Your role", select "Researcher".
*If the EC website fails in this action, try to register your proposal using another web browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Firefox, etc).
Step 4: Complete the proposal administration forms (part A)
Who? Postdoctoral Researcher / Scientific Supervisor / OEID
Step 5: Write the technical part of the proposal (part B)
Who? Postdoctoral Researcher / Scientific Supervisor
How? Part B must be completed offline, using the templates that you downloaded in Step 3, and the finished documents must then be uploaded to the Participant Portal. Write the part B of the proposal (description of your project) according to the proposal templates provided in the Portal Submission Service. Read them carefully and try to understand what is expected in each section in the light of the previous documents. Also, keep in mind that evaluators, although they are experts in your field, may not be experts in the research objectives of your project. Therefore, write your proposal from a technical point of view, but one that can be understood by any colleague in your field.
There are numerous materials to support Postdoctoral Researchers in drafting the templates of the MSCA proposal. We have curated and ordered the available documents according to their usefulness to help you in this fundamental step. Likewise, you will find that part of the information you are requested to provide in the proposal has to do with the Universidad Complutense as an institution hosting your project. There are parts of the proposal that are in this sense host-institution-dependent. We have created a "guide to UCM specific issues" to help you draft these parts.
You should initially focus your efforts on the design of the research project of the excellence section. The 40% chance of getting the funding depends on it. The project must be original and innovative (not incremental), the objectives ought to have at least a European scope (e.g. strategic EC policies, significant advancement of the state of the art of your discipline, roadmaps, current social challenges, white papers, etc.) and, it should spring from the union of your backgrounds (supervisor & fellow) in research (double transfer of knowledge).
The Guide for Applicants (link) and the MSCA Work Programme (link) by the European Commission contain the key information about the objectives of the programme, modalities of participation, eligibility criteria, evaluation criteria and a blueprint of the technical proposal templates to be submitted. The Guide complements and explains the Work programme, but does not replace it; therefore, both documents should be read side by side. If you have any administrative or formal questions about the MSCA-PF-2021 call, consult these documents.
MSCA Individual Fellowships Handbook 2021: This unofficial document has been prepared by MSCA's network of NCPs (Net4Mobility). This handbook consists of the official 2021 annotated templates. Inside there are explanations, examples and tips on how to write the different sections in an easy way. This guide can be considered as a reference book in the proposal drafting phase.
The 2021 Handbook is not available yet. In the meanwhile, you can use the one from 2020 as a guide
Part of the information you are requested to provide in the proposal has to do with the Universidad Complutense as an institution hosting your project. There are parts of the proposal (1.2, 1.3, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2, 3.3 and 5) that are in this sense host-institution-dependent. To help in writing these parts of the proposal please download and make use of the following document. DO NOT USE IT AS A "COPY-PASTE TURNKEY SOLUTION".
The role of the supervisor in a MSCA-PF project comprises several tasks. You can find a comprehensive description in the MSCA Guidelines for Supervision document, created by the European Commission.
All proposals under Horizon Europe must keep in mind the European Green Deal, including trying to uphold the "Do no significant harm" principle (this will appear in section A of your proposal) and describing how your technical proposal impacts the Green Deal principles (this will have to be written in part B, i.e. the technical proposal). The EC has prepared MSCA-specific materials related to the Green Deal, comprising a brief code of good practices (MSCA Green Charter) and a supplementary document listing additional resources.
The European Commission has created a guide on the use of social media in Horizon 2020 projects. This guide will help you to properly design dissemination and communicate plan of sections 2.2 and 2.3 of your proposal.
- The European IPR Helpdesk has prepared the brochure "Making the Most of Your H2020 Project". It will help researchers boost the impact of their project through effective communication, dissemination and exploitation, and consider how they all relate to Intellectual Property issues.
When writing your proposal, it might be useful for you to understand the Spanish Science & Technology System, and the possible career paths available to researchers. We recommend you to visit the Euraxess Spain section, where many resourcers are available. Their Career Path Chart provides a bird's eye view about different fellowships and contracts that will be available to you.
In the bottom part of our guide Step-by-step for MSCA-PF you have more supporting documentation (e.g. webinars in English and Spanish) to draft the technical memory of your proposal. Check our "Useful videos and Useful documents/links" sections for more information.
If you've already started writing the proposal, you can request us for the document "Good examples of MSCA-PF". In this document we have collected extracts of projects already funded, which we consider good examples of successful proposals.
This does not mean that your proposal has to replicate or copy these examples. As we said before, our intention is that this may inspire you in the design of the sections where you have doubts.
Step 6: Assessment and review
How? When you have a definitive version of your proposal, we suggest that you review your work. After that, let others evaluate your proposal, specially your scientific supervisor. It is also a good idea to ask for the opinion of colleagues, especially for the review of the scientific part.
In the last step of the evaluation, the experts will use a grid to rate your proposal. This evaluation template can be used to guide self-evaluation. Draft the proposal thinking about who will evaluate it. The document linked below will be updated for the 2021 call.
Attention: Global Fellowships
In Global Fellowships, a Letter of Commitment from the Third Country Host Institution must be should be included in Part B2 of the proposal. If the letter of commitment of the partner organisation is not provided, the proposal will be considered incomplete and therefore will be declared inadmissible. Also, please make sure that the letter is clearly visible in the submitted part B-2 – every year a number of proposals are declared inadmissible because the letter of commitment is not visible.
Please note that no fixed template for this letter is provided. In section 7 (Part B-2) you will find a non-binding example template of Commitment letter for MSCA-PF-GF partner organisations.
Before the letter is signed, send this document to us for review/approval at any time. We have not established a deadline for this process, but do not leave this task to the last moment..
- The Funding & Tenders portal for beginners, a webinar describing the basic operations of the Portal
- The EU Guide to Science Communication
- Norwegian NCPs: MSCA Individual Fellowships webinar (EN: Video & Slides)
- Spanish NCPs: MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships webinar about characteristics and what's new in 2021 (ES/EN: Slides, scrolling down, and Video)
- Understanding gender dimension for MSCA projects
- What are the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships?
- MSCA Horizon Europe Information Event (March 23, 2021): in the slides you will find important information about what's new in the 2021 call
- Horizon Europe Info Days 2021 | Session on MSCA | 03 - Postdoctoral Fellowships (July 1, 2021): an infoday organized by the European Commission to present the MSCA programme for 2021 and all its novelties
- MSCA-PF-2021 Guide for Applicants
- Work Programme 2021-2022 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
- List of eligible countries (pending on the approval of the Association Agreements)
- Researcher Development Framework (VITAE)
- Funding & Tenders Portal
- Online Manual for the Funding & Tenders portal
- Horizonte Europa - MSCA: the Spanish Portal dedicated to Horizon Europe has a section dedicated to MSCA. News and events are often posted there (there is an RSS feed for easier tracking), and you will also find the e-mail addresses of the NCPs.
- H2020 - MSCA: In the Spanish Portal dedicated to MSCA in the previous Horizon 2020 you will also find several webinars and resources that are still relevant.
- Universidad Complutense de Madrid EURAXESS Local Contact Point
- HRS4R at UCM
- UCM European Office for R&D
Useful Key Glossary
You can also check the Glossary from the Funding & Tenders, as well as the extensively-annotated Glossary developed by the National Contact Points for MSCA, offered as part of their Welcome Package. Find below a brief summary of the most common lingo that you will come across in the documentation
- AC - Associated country: states that do not belong to the European Union, but that have signed an Association Agreement that allows them to participate in, and receive funding through, Horizon Europe on equal footing.
- EC - European Commission: the executive branch of the European Union, ultimately responsible for programmes such as MSCA.
- EU login - The European Commission's user authentication service, previously known as ECAS (European Commission Authentication Service)
- FT - The Funding & Tenders Portal ("the Portal"): the single gateway for participants in many EU funding programmes, including Horizon Europe. The Portal is open and from there researchers can log in to access the Submission Service for each call.
- HI - Host Institution: the institution that will host the Postdoctoral Fellow (in this case, the Complutense University)
- HORIZON - Horizon Europe: the 9th Research and Innovation Funding Programme of the European Union, covering the period 2021-2027
- HRS4R - Human Resources Strategy for Researchers: a EU-supported strategy to encourage research institutions to implement the European Charter for Resarchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The Complutense University has endorsed both.
- LoC - Letter of Commitment: in the context of MSCA-PF, such letters are needed from Partner Organizations which will host the fellow (but not the HI)
- MS - Member state: each of the 27 countries that form the European Union
- MSCA-PF - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowship
- MSCA-PF-EF - European Fellowship
- MSCA-PF-GF - Global Fellowship
- NCP - National Contact Point: national support structures for HORIZON and all its programmes, providing advice and support through the whole cycle of a project.
- OEID - European Office for R&D (UCM)
- PO - Partner Organisations: organisations which, while contributing to the implementation of the action, do not sign the Grant Agreement. This includes the organization hosting the fellow during the outgoing phase of a GF, a organization hosting the fellow during a secondment or a non-academic organization hosting the fellow during a placement at the end of the project.
- PSS - The Funding & Tenders portal Submission System
- PR - Postdoctoral Researcher
- TC - Third Country: in the context of MSCA, a country which is neither a Member State nor an Associated Country