Should I apply for Marie Curie ITN?

Marie Curie ITN is a popular funding programme because it is bottom-up – meaning that all research topics are in scope. Still, there are some questions you need to ask yourself before starting to write an ITN proposal.

Marie Curie Innovative Training Network ITN

Disclaimer: This blog was written in the context of Europe’s earlier framework programme Horizon 2020. Parts of it may be outdated. Contact us for up-to-date information.

The fact that a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network is a research training proposal often leads to the question: “Should I focus on research or training when writing an ITN?” The answer, in brief, is you should focus on both.

The need for an Innovative Training Network

To find out whether your proposal idea fits the Marie Curie ITN programme, you should ask yourself a couple of questions.

  1. What is the need for innovation in my (multidisciplinary) research field?
    What are the main bottlenecks hindering breakthroughs in your research field? Which of these bottlenecks do you aim to tackle first? Can you link the research need to a specific societal need?
  2. What is the Human Resources need associated to this?
    In relation to the research need: what type of researcher is needed to be able to innovate your field? What skills does the researcher of the future require? In which of these skills are current PhD programmes lacking?
  3. Which partners should be on board to make this happen?
    What are the most likely future employers of your PhD students? It is essential for your success to have these partners heavily involved in the consortium. They can also be very helpful in the process of drafting the proposal. Coming from a different discipline or sector, they can tell you exactly what type of training is essential to be a successful (non)academic researcher in their field.

Different sectors and disciplines

To be successful, a Marie Curie ITN project is required to be intersectoral. This means that it is essential that the non-academic sector is well represented in the proposal in a meaningful way. Importantly, relevant partners from other sectors should underscore the need for the project, and be willing to fully participate, for example by supervising PhD students.

Another criterion is interdisciplinarity, meaning that different research disciplines join forces in an ITN project. The PhD students receive training in more than one discipline and discussions on interdisciplinary topics and solutions are a natural part of the project – for example during joint summer schools. Since disciplines are not defined, there can be some debate as to what are considered different disciplines. Fundament can help you assess whether your proposal is meeting the interdisciplinarity criterion.

What Fundament has to offer

Fundament is highly experienced in Marie Curie ITN, having analysed over 150 proposals and evaluation reports and supported many successful ITN proposals. We offer tailored support trajectories for ITN, in which we guide you from project idea to submission. ITN proposals can be resubmitted indefinitely and we can help you assess the chances of recycling your proposal. Furthermore, we offer single reviews if you are well underway and you want someone to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your draft. We look forward to hearing from you!

Author: Neeltje Peters

Co-founder and Research Funding Professional at Fundament.

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