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The EU has a research fellowship program named after Physicist Marie Skłodowska-Curie. The website lacks a bunch of information, but I'm specifically interested in understanding what kind of funding it actually provides in the Individual Fellowship (IF) track. The linked-to-page says:

The grant provides an allowance to cover living, travel and family costs. In addition, the EU contributes to the training, networking and research costs of the fellow, as well as to the management and indirect costs of the project.

If you've received such a grant, participated in fund allocation, or saw the "books" at a hosting institution, I'd like to know more about what amounts of money they're talking about.

Specific points you could elaborate on:

  • Is the funding a lump sum? Per-year? Per-month?
  • Is the host institute's part figured as a percentage of the overall funding? Independently of it?
  • Do the applicants (individual + institution) ask for certain amounts, or does the program set them?
  • If it's the latter, what are the fixed amounts? Or the criteria for setting them?
  • Can you give a specific/typical example (no personal identifying information please) of the amount of funds some researcher, and their hosting institute, have gotten?

Obviously - no need to address all of the points.

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  • MSCA is a set of funding fellowships, like the Individual Fellowship (IF), the Innovative Training Networks (ITN), or the Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE), are you asking for any specific call or in general? Because the funding varies between fellowships.
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Nov 29, 2019 at 8:43
  • @MatiasValdenegro: You're right. Edited to clarify the question is about IF.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 29, 2019 at 9:21

3 Answers 3

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The website has a bunch of information if you look in the right place, in the applicant guide. All your questions are essentially answered by this paragraph:

The living allowance is the EU contribution to the gross salary costs of the researcher and amounts to EUR 4,880 per month. It can only be used to this end.

This amount is adjusted through the application of a country correction coefficient (CCC) for the cost of living according to the country in which the beneficiary is located. For the outgoing phase of the Global Fellowship, the country correction coefficient of the TC partner organisation will be applied. However, the adjusted amount will not change in case of secondments to a partner organisation in another MS or AC. The country correction coefficients that will be applied are indicated in Table 1 in Part 3 of the Work Programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions).

I'll let you read the rest. There is also a mobility allowance of 600€/month and a family allowance of 500€/month. There are also a few annex costs. Bear in mind that this is a gross amount.

I didn't search for the Work Programme (it's somewhere online, I imagine), but in France, the resulting net salary is around 3000€/month, which is extremely good for a postdoc; to give an idea, the median net salary for employees is 1789€ nationwide. I have a few friends who got or supervised postdocs like this in several European countries, none of them had to complain about the salary, quite the contrary.

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  • What is an MS or an AC? I've noticed they use those acronyms a lot.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 27, 2019 at 15:27
  • I don't have concrete numbers but can confirm that the salary is quite generous. A colleague got this in the UK and when he tried to open a bank account the bank first assumed it is a quarterly salary because they didn't believe he would be paid that much every month.
    – quarague
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:32
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    @quarague: It's not quite generous, but rather, typical researcher salaries in many countries are ridiculously low. Comparing these salaries to the media wage is a really low bar. But thanks.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:41
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    @einpoklum-reinstateMonica Let's say Marie Curie fellowships are closer to professor salaries than postdoc salaries. Including allowances this comes to about 6k Euros a month pretax , postdocs in Germany, NL, France, GB are more around 4.5k per month. I agree that comparing to median salaries is useless, there is a massive difference in qualification.
    – quarague
    Nov 28, 2019 at 8:07
  • @quarague: Well, if you add the mobility allowance and the family allowance and get to 6k EUR, then yes, I agree.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 28, 2019 at 10:28
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This question was asked years ago, but I still want to share my experience as it was very frustrating to find out after the fact. Per country the implementation of the grant differs. I had my MCIF in the Netherlands. I receive the legally obliged salary (CAO scale 11), and no penny extra. No family allowance, no travel allowance. Not even my full travel costs are reimbursed. Obviously this upset me, and I informed the ERC people. They contacted the university and sided with the university that this is fair. The idea is that the minimum legal salary in NL is much higher than the MCIF minimum salary, so this CAO salary is plenty to cover minimum MCIF + travel + family allowance.

So for NL it doesn't matter if you receive the family allowance or not you salary will always be minimum CAO salary. The university just uses the allowance to decrease the cost for themselves.

I wish I would've had the option to tell ERC that I won't be using the mobility and family allowance so they could fund someone else with it.

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    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, and I hope this will be useful to future post-docs. Did you try contacting your representative labor union, the AC-HOP?
    – einpoklum
    Nov 3, 2021 at 10:15
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    Can I just clarify, are you saying your CAO salary was greater than the MCIF salary, but less than MCIF salary+travel+allowance, and the Marie Curie admin sided with the university to allow you to just be paid the CAO scale? That's surprising to me - I had a similar issue on my MCIOF where I was paid more than the salary part but less than the full allowance, and the university was directed to pay me the difference in full at the end of the fellowship. The idea of the university being allowed to simply pocket the balance was never on the table, so this is completely opposite to my experience. Nov 3, 2021 at 12:54
  • I should note this was in a different host country, but in communication with the university the Marie Curie admin were very clear that this was their standard policy for all fellowships, so I don't think that should make a difference. Nov 3, 2021 at 12:55
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Same experience as Hanna in the NL. The salary is not nearly as high as advertised, in the end even the courses are charged from the personal allowance and not from the institutional allowance. It feels like a racket. Extremely misleading.

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  • You guys (= Marie Curie fellows) should really do something about this. Too bad there isn't some EU-level federation of academic staff unions. Still, you might try to persuade single-nation level academic staff unions to intervene on your behalf to at least not have you charged for courses; or alternatively form an association of the fellows, and then lobby the EU about this matter, or even sue the fellowship program etc.
    – einpoklum
    Feb 4 at 9:45

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