A couple of months ago I started my Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. My relationship with the supervisor is pretty bad, which is surprising to me as she was involved and seemed to respect me when preparing the actual proposal a year ago.

She does not respect me, and sends me very unprofessional audio messages accusing me of not being 'wired for research', seems to think I should be available at all times for her and whenever we meet up. She is always late, at least 45 minutes late, every time without prior notice and never apologises. She is very condescending to me and it is getting to the point where I am starting to doubt myself and my research abilities. She always points out my flaws and there have been a couple of incidents where she's blown out at me and yelled. Whenever I have tried to fight my corner, I was met with "there is a hierarchy and you need to be aware of it and respect it"-kind of answer, which was extremely insulting. It is getting very toxic and since I do not want to quit the program, I am starting to consider the possibility of changing supervisor.

I wondered if anyone had any similar experience of changing supervisor and could tell me how easy/difficult it is to get it approved by the the European Commission.

Update Oct 2022

It ended up with me reporting my supervisor to the Student's Protection Board at my University for bullying and harassment. My supervisor also wanted to leave the supervision because she could see I was not backing down. From there they advised to tell the European Commission the supervisor was stepping down due to personal issues. I have another supervisor now but she is still employed as a Full Professor at the University, which stings but at least I don't have to put up with her constant belittling. EC asked no questions and I'd say changing supervisor was fairly easy.

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    Not posted as an answer, since the situation is quite different. I changed supervisors at some point, which was easily solved by contacting the project officer with the EC. This was more for formal reasons though, as my supervisor was no longer employed by the host institution, but still had an appointment with an affiliated institution, so in practice there was no real difference. Changing host institutions is much more difficult, apparently. I would expect the main concern for the EC is the potential impact on the research programme described in your proposal. Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 11:20
  • @PieterNaaijkens Thank you for your reply. I would not want to change host institution, the main problem is with my supervisor. I have thought about getting in contact with my project officer at EC, however, it seems that every time there is an exchange through the Funding&Tenders platform my supervisor gets a notification and has complete access to our exchanges, which I find odd... I guess I need to investigate a bit further and also speak to my coordinator at my host institution.
    – Silvia
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 10:24
  • @Louic I have, very carefully and she tells me I need to be humble. She actually sent me a lengthy email saying I need to be very humble in my career, particularly when I start my secondment. She has also been verbally abusive to my coordinator at my host institution. Basically, she treats horribly people who she deems are "below" her. She has not helped me at all since the beginning of the scholarship and barely responds to my emails. It's beyond disappointing.
    – Silvia
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


I've heard other cases in which changing supervisor was a smooth process, but recently it seems that they are becoming stricter. I would say that if the supervisor agrees that you change (as in your case), then there is no problem, but if the supervisor does not agree, it's very hard. The grant is not portable, so if a grantee wants to switch the supervisor in a different institution, it is possible that the transition won't be successful. The grant manager explained this to me recently.

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