Q. In the GfA (page 10): “Fellowship Programmes must be based on individual-driven mobility, which means that researchers should be able to freely choose a research topic and the appropriate host organisation fitting their individual needs. Programmes which predefine the fellow's research work at a given location do not conform to this principle ”. Is this “research topic” related with a specific research line or a broader science area? For example, If a regional governments prepare a Cofund Programme with this sentence the Regional Cofund Program should be horizontal? (for any kind of scientific discipline) or if a University want to promote Biotechnology Program?

A. In FP7 it was Ok to propose a fellowship programme with just one host institution and a single research area, as long as the researcher had the opportunity to define their own research project – and not be given a project that the host had already written (“off the shelf”). In Horizon 2020, the situation seems to be the same, however the intention might be to fund programmes that have a wider geographical basis than just a single institution. It will be OK to use “off the shelf” projects in doctoral programmes but not in fellowship programmes.

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Fellowship programme

Q. Selection of researchers must follow an open, transparent, merit-based, impartial and equitable procedure, based on international peer review: Does the organisation have to include the same evaluation criteria (excellence, impact and implementation) as for the MSCA Individual Fellowships or can they use the evaluation criteria of their existing fellowship programmes?
A. Applicants are free to propose their own evaluation criteria. Of course, these aspects being part of the description of the proposal, they will be properly assessed by the experts evaluating the COFUND proposals.

Q. The programme has to enable research funders to align strategies and implementation practices with Horizon 2020 objectives in human resources development: What with organisations that are already in line with these strategies and practices? How can they address this question in the proposal?
A. MSCA play a key role in the implementation of research HR practices. For instance, the individual fellowships and ITN projects (for the doctoral programmes) could be used as models for what we consider best practices.

Q. Fellowships must be granted via regular calls for proposals, internationally advertised and published, with fixed deadlines or regular cut-off dates (max. 4 per year): The duration of the COFUND project will be 60 months maximum. However if you choose for the appointment of researchers with a duration of 36 months, it will be difficult to have regular calls since the fellowships will otherwise not be finished within the 60 months. Or do the fellowships only have to start within the 60 months? Or is it possible to have only one call if you choose for long-term fellowships of 24 or 36 months? Will this not be evaluated negatively?
A. The costs claimed under a COFUND project of 60 months must be incurred in that period of time. Therefore, the plan for calls and duration of fellowships will have to take that into account. It is up to the applicant to come up with their own “plan”.

Q. What is the timing for the reporting periods?
A. he reporting periods will be each 24 months. Therefore, a project with a 60 months duration will have 3 reporting periods: 24 + 24 + 12.

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Financial regime

Q. What is the link between the table at page 14 of COFUND Guide for Applicants and the one provided in the file Budget provisions?
At page 14 of the GFA it says for example that for early stage researchers the EU contribution for the living allowance is 1855 EUR and that the total remuneration costs (living allowance, mobility allowance, social security contributions, taxes and other costs included in the remuneration) offered by the programme to the fellows shall in no case be lower than a minimum of EUR 2597.
In the table provided in the Budget provisions document it is written that the Researcher unit cost for an ESR is 3710 EUR. Is there a mismatch of information between the GFA and the WP?

A. There is a footnote in the table in the Budget provisions file that says  " ***These unit costs will be subject to a co-funding rate of 50% (Article 28.3 of the Rules for Participation)." So the EU contribution is half that in the Table (half of 3710 is 1855).

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Unit Costs

Q: The MSCA WP states, on page 51, a table showing budget. Underneath, it says that these unit costs will be subject to a co-funding rate of 50%. For the Doctoral scheme, researcher unit-cost of € 3,710/month, and the institutional unit cost of € 650/month.

Does the EC pay half of both? Why would they specify an amount, when it is clear that the costs for the institution will be higher than this?


A. : The institution pays the researcher whatever have been proposed, subject to the lower limits set on page 52. The EC then pay half of € 3710/month, plus half of € 650/month.

The numbers come from the ITN/IF tables on the previous page:

For the Doctoral Scheme, If you add the ITN living allowance to the ITN mobility allowance you get € 3,710/month,

For the Postdoctoral scheme, the IF living allowance + the IF mobility allowance sum up to € 5,250/month.

As for the COFUND Doctoral and Postdoctoral scheme the EC assumes the ‘full’ contribution to the management is the same as that for IF.

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