The European Commission awarded MSCA Seal of Excellence certificates to 1 956 applicants for MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships in 2021. These applicants presented outstanding proposals but fell short of receiving funding from the scheme.
The Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships are highly competitive: the first call of the scheme under Horizon Europe saw a total of 8 356 proposals, of which only 1 156 received funding.
High quality applications
The MSCA Seal of Excellence is a quality label awarded to applicants for MSCA Individual Fellowships who scored 85% or higher in the assessment. The Seal of Excellence is a guarantee of the outstanding value of the research project, recognized by a comprehensive and thorough assessment process. Beneficiaries can use this award to obtain alternative funding for their research.
Thanks to the MSCA Seal of Excellence, other funding bodies are in a position to leverage the Horizon Europe evaluation process if they wish. A proposal which has earned the MSCA Seal of Excellence may be supported by national, regional and university-level schemes.
As of 2022, 13 European countries have such programmes in place at different institutional levels.
The MSCA Seal of Excellence also supports low research and innovation performing countries in the European Union and Associated Countries, usually referred to as “widening countries”. Supporting these countries through an integrated approach promotes a more balanced circulation of scientists in Europe. This is in line with the new Widening Strategy for Horizon Europe. The Seal of Excellence allows research institutions and national authorities to implement a funding scheme in line with their own strategies. Through these schemes, the institutions and national authorities can attract leading talent from abroad, including diaspora researchers, increasing the visibility and attractiveness of their host institutions at an international level.
Next steps for successful applicants
Applicants with an evaluation score equal or above 85% have already received their certificate to support them in securing alternative funding from national or regional authorities.
Awardees have received a notification in the Funding and Tenders Opportunities Portal, where they can download their Seal of Excellence certificate from the “Process documents” section, Seal of Excellence.
Those unable to access the portal should contact their supervisor or host organization with whom they submitted their application.
The European Commission advises recipients to consult the list of available support at national/regional level for MSCA Seal of Excellence holders. MSCA National Contact Points in your host country can also help finding alternative funding sources.
Next funding round is coming soon
The next call for MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships will open on 12 May 2022.