The Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, with a budget of just over 6 billion euros (2014-2020), supports the mobility of researchers within and outside Europe, knowledge transfer and aims to attract the best researchers from other European countries.
The National Documentation Centre (EKT), National Contact Point for Horizon 2020, organised ’20 years of the European Programme Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA), Horizon 2020’ ( EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation). The event was organised jointly with the General Secretariat for Research and Technology and had the support of the European Commission ( Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture ).
The Director of the National Documentation Centre (EKT), Dr Evi Sachini, stressed the importance of the programme for the opportunities it offers new researchers, knowledge transfer and the attracting of the best researchers from other European countries as well as promoting equality, given that Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions strongly supports the careers of women in the fields of research and science. Dr. Sachini stressed EKT’s role in all stages of research activity and providing statistical data on Greek participation in the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, Horizons 2020.
The General Secretary for Research and Technology, Dr. M.Kiprianidou, stated that, in its 20 years of operation, the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions programme has become a landmark in the mobility of scientists in Europe. He also mentioned that the programme is exceptionally attractive for Greek researchers and despite constantly increasing competitiveness, Greece’s position in Horizon 2020, when compared to that of FP7, remains stable in terms of funding. ‘Many truly excellent Greek researchers begin their careers with Marie Curie awards, while research centres and Greek universities are able to host highly qualified young scientists from abroad and build strong and extremely creative co-operative relations,’ said M. Kiprianidou.
The General Secretary also gave a brief presentation of initiatives and actions carried out by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology to create research jobs and tackle the brain drain which threatens the knowledge ecosystem of Greece and southern Europe generally. He stressed that the creation of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) and the first calls announced by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology for the strengthening of doctoral and postdoctoral research, is a very important step in that direction.
Maria Tsivertara (Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture) analytically presented the participation of the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions programme in the European Research Area, from FP7 to Horizon 2020 and the future programme. During the FP7(2007-2013), there were 140 different nationalities among the programme fellows, 95% of those participating in research secured jobs within two years of the scholarship ending, 37% were women, while a large percentage were at the forefront of scientific discoveries, as were 30 researchers who had scholarships from the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions and participated in the discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN.
In addition to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the programme, the European Union celebrated the 100,000 fellowships awarded to date, by selecting 30 researchers, including the Greek researcher Ioannis Tsanakas, to highlight EU actions regarding excellence and mobility in the research sector.
Under Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions has a budget of just over 6 billion euros, with an expected total of 843 million euros for grants in 2017. Mrs. Tsivertara presented the following open calls:
- Individual Fellowships (IF): the action supports experienced researchers moving to other countries, with the option of working outside academia. Submission period - 11 April – 14 September 2017. Budget - 248 million euros
- Innovative Training Networks (ITN): the action supports new researchers. Call opens October 2017. Budget - still under discussion
- Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) the action promotes international and intersectoral partnerships and involves the exchange of research, administrative and technical staff. Submission period – 1 5 December 2016 - April 2017. Budget – 80 million euros
- The co-funding of regional, national and international programmes in research training or mobility fellowships to or from another country. Submission period – 5 April – 28 September 2017. Budget – 80 million euros
Mrs Tsverata stressed the excellent performance of Greece in the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, Horizon 2020. With a total of 449 fellowships and a success rate of 12.46%, Greece is ranked 5th.
The Emeritus Professor and President of the State Scholarship Foundation (SSF), Kyriakos Athanasiou, later presented the foundation’s national actions for the promotion of research through the fellowship programme. Through NSRF (National Strategy Reference Framework), SSF has obtained funding for undergraduates belonging to vulnerable groups and strengthened support for postgraduates. Through Siemens, SSF has funded 100 post-doctorals, with a deadline of 31 August 2017. Under the terms of the National Agency for implementation of the European Programme Erasmus + for Education and Training, the SSF manages decentralised actions for Mobility and Strategic Partnerships. As part of the ordinary budget, SSF has sponsored fellowships for Greek doctorate students at the European University of Florence, scholarships to Foreign Nationals for the Greek Language and Culture, a one-month summer school programme organised by universities and postgraduate studies within Greece or abroad.
Dr Kalliopi Dasyra (MSCA-IF, Postdoctoral Researcher, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Dr Nikos Passas (MSCA – ITN, member of the Laboratory Teaching Staff, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Dr Giorgos Agapiou ( MSCA-ITN, OTE Group, Ltd), all MSCA fellows, shared their experiences and gave advice on submitting competitive proposals.
Marianna Gritzala (National Documentation Centre ) gave a presentation of EURAXESS, the EU’s institutional tool for researcher mobility, which aims to provide the latest information and personalised service. Dr Marina Aggelaki (National Documentation Centre) presented Open Access, Horizon 2020, while Georgia Mazioti and Dr Christina Pascual (National Documentation Centre) explained the role of the National Documentation Centre as National Contact Point for Horizon 2020.
Event videos can be found at http://www.ekt.gr/el/events/program/20681.
The National Documentation Centre is National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 and a series of individual programmes such as Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, supporting the participation of Greek academia and the research and business communities. It covers all stages of research projects, from proposal preparation to implementation and exploitation of research results by offering services including a helpdesk for : information and consultancy, development and management of information material, organisation of events and seminars, partner search for joint ventures and joint proposal submission. It also records national participation and publishes statistics and performance indicators.