Marie Curie ITN – let’s talk budget

Calculating the requested budget in your Marie Curie ITN application is easy. All you need to do is fill out which researcher will be employed at which institution for which duration, and the online forms automatically calculate the total requested budget. But behind the scenes, internal budget redistribution is strongly advised.

Budget distribution Marie Curie ITN proposal

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 Parts of it may be outdated.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.

Whether you are a coordinator or a beneficiary in an ITN proposal, it’s important you know exactly how much budget you will have to spend. You need to arrange this in the Consortium Agreement once you get the money, but it’s of course better to know in advance what you’re in for.

Types of costs

There are 2 types of costs you can claim in an ITN proposal. The researcher unit costs consist of a living allowance, mobility allowance and a potential family allowance. As a beneficiary, you need to pay these amounts directly to the researcher for their own use. This means that travel costs for training and secondments are not paid from the researcher unit costs.

As a beneficiary, you will receive institutional unit costs. First, you will receive research, training, and networking costs to spend on training (including travel costs), visiting researchers, visa and residency costs, consumables, etc. Second, you can use the management and indirect costs for management of the project and overhead.


Most consortia agree on redistribution of the institutional unit costs. For example, a training coordinator that organizes 4 joint training events needs the money to be able to do so. Since the research costs are paid from the same category as training costs, how much money there is to redistribute depends largely on how costly the research will be. A desktop research project will leave more money for general training than research involving lab experiments with costly antibodies.

The management costs can be used for local overhead, but a large portion can – and in my view, should – be transferred to the coordinator. The coordinator hires a project manager from this budget, which benefits the consortium as a whole. The percentage of the budget transferred is subject to negotiation, but anything between 30 and 60% would be reasonable.

Paying for your PhD student

One more important and sometimes challenging aspect of ITN budgets is the maximum of 36 months funding per researcher. If you’re in the Dutch system where a PhD training trajectory normally takes 4 years, this means you either have to  find additional funding, or have measures in place for a 3-year PhD trajectory (e.g. by only hiring research master graduates).

In any case, although the budget calculations seem simple, be sure to consult your financial department before submitting your Marie Curie ITN proposal.

Fundament and ITNs

We have vast experience in the Marie Curie ITN programme and know the requirements and success factors. Whether you’re looking for a full support trajectory or a thorough review of your pre-final ITN proposal, we can help!

Author: Neeltje Peters

Co-founder and Research Funding Professional at Fundament.

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