CSIC obtains 32 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions to study the microbiota, galaxies and heritage

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  • Postdoctoral scientists at the CSIC will study the transfer of microbes from mother to neonate, galaxies through big data and Andean heritage landscapes, among other areas.
  • The European Union will fund in this edition around 1,500 researchers specialised in several disciplines with 296 million euros.
  • The CSIC launches an internal call to enhance the extension of MSCA Individual Fellowships projects in order to support talent attraction and retention.

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) obtained 32 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships (MSCA IF) in the 2019 call, the highest number to date for the organisation, positioning itself as the first recipient of these grants at a national level. These actions, included in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, aim to support postdoctoral researchers in individual projects and promote their international and intersectoral mobility. In this edition, the Research Executive Agency (REA) will fund around 1,500 researchers specialised in a wide range of disciplines with 296 million euros.

Among the scientists who will be hosted by the CSIC, approximately half are Spaniards who carry out their research abroad, while the rest come mostly from other European countries. During their stay at the institution, they will carry out research ranging from the study of the transfer of the microbiota from mother to child, to artificial intelligence methods for underwater target tracking, the study of galaxy clusters through big data, the analysis of catalytic processes activated by light and heat, and the Andean heritage landscapes, among others.

Regarding the number of aids granted, at the European level, Spain is the second country, after the United Kingdom, and at the national level, the CSIC holds the first place. Compared to the number of grants awarded to its European counterparts, the CSIC ranks fifth, behind the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-CNRS (France), the University of Cambridge and the Oxford University (UK).

The CSIC enhances the extension of MSCA IF projects

The CSIC’s Vice-presidency for International Relations gives support to researchers who submit their proposals with the institution through face-to-face training sessions, webinars, resolution of queries and review of candidates' proposals.

Last April 15, an internal call was launched to enhance the extension of the MSCA Individual Fellowships projects in order to support talent attraction and retention. The call, promoted by the CSIC’s Vice-presidency for International Relations, offers the possibility to extend MSCA IF projects ongoing on September 30 2020 for a period of 18 months, for the purpose of supporting talent attraction and retention at the CSIC through the achievement of projects in future calls of the European Research Council (ERC).

MSCA have been particularly successful in responding to the needs of the European scientific community in terms of training, mobility and professional development. There is a clear connection between the highest success rates in the ERC calls among researchers who previously obtained a MSCA IF.  Nevertheless, the current duration of the MSCA IF may result insufficient for the development of activities that allow the correct evolution and maturation of potential creative and innovative researchers.  The consolidation of recruitments in research groups may be affected.

As part of its strategy to attract and retain competitive, the CSIC’s call aims to offer its researchers the possibility to extend their scientific projects and boost its potential to apply for an ERC project.

This article was first published on 2 March by CSIC.

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