Hosting more PhD students, or hosting them for a longer duration
In the previous work programme, the maximum number of PhD months you could apply for was reduced from 540 to 360 in a standard Doctoral Network. In practice, this meant a reduction from 15 to 10 PhD students. For the new call, this is changed back, and all types of Doctoral Networks can apply for a maximum of 540 months.
Another novelty only applies to consortia proposing a Joint Doctorate network. In this case, each PhD student can be enrolled for a maximum of 48 months rather than the usual 36 months. This is a highly relevant change for countries like the Netherlands, where PhD trajectories mostly take 4 years. It means you don’t need to seek additional funding for the fourth PhD year. Note that the maximum number of months funded across the project as a whole will still be 540.
No more commitment letters from associated partners
Another important change is that associated partners no longer need to provide signed letters of commitment. Such partners usually have a role in hosting PhD students for secondments or providing specific training. In the new call, it is enough to add associated partners in the online forms and describe their role in the proposal itself. We expect this new rule to limit the stress for coordinators in the weeks before the deadline, when they are awaiting the final official letters from some of their associated partners…
Resubmission restriction still in place
Not a change, but worth mentioning anyway: the resubmission rules announced in the previous work programme still apply. A score of at least 80% is needed to be able to resubmit the following year. If you submit a proposal, and the EC tools find a similar proposal from the previous year that didn’t reach this cut-off, you will be contacted to highlight why you feel your new proposal does not qualify as a resubmission. Your response will be used to decide whether your new proposal will be evaluated or declared ineligible.
Fundament has vast experience in Doctoral Networks
We have built extensive expertise in supporting MSCA Doctoral Network proposals over the years, and were fortunate to contribute to multiple success stories. Are you looking for a quick review of your draft, strategic advice on whether or not to resubmit a previous proposal, or full hands-on support in all aspects of the proposal preparation? Feel free to get in touch to see how we can help.