Horizon Europe-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Doctoral Networks 2023

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MSCA Doctoral Networks will implement doctoral programmes, by partnerships of universities, research institutions and research infrastructures, businesses including SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond. MSCA Doctoral Networks are indeed open to the participation of organisations from third countries, in view of fostering strategic international partnerships for the training and exchange of researchers.

These doctoral programmes will respond to well-identified needs in various R&I areas, expose the researchers to the academic and non-academic sectors, and offer training in research-related, as well as transferable skills and competences relevant for innovation and long-term employability (e.g. entrepreneurship, commercialisation of results, Intellectual Property Rights, communication). Proposals for doctoral networks can reflect existing or planned research partnerships among the participating organisations.

MSCA Doctoral Networks are encouraged to lead to Industrial or Joint Doctorates:

Industrial Doctorates

Through Industrial Doctorates, doctoral candidates will step outside academia and develop skills in industry and business by being jointly supervised by academic and non-academic organisations, both of which can be established in the same EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country.

Joint Doctorates

Joint Doctorates represent a highly integrated type of international, inter-sectoral and multi/interdisciplinary collaboration in doctoral training. They lead to the delivery of joint, double or multiple doctoral degrees recognised in at least two EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries.

Supervisory Board

Each MSCA Doctoral Network should have a clearly identified supervisory board co-ordinating network-wide training, research and in particular supervision activities in line with the Guidelines for MSCA supervision, while establishing continuous communication and exchange of best practice among the participating organisations to maximise the benefits of the partnership.

Training activities

MSCA Doctoral Networks should exploit complementarities between participating organisations and foster sharing of knowledge and networking activities for example through the organisation of workshops and conferences. Proposed training activities should respond to well identified needs in various R&I areas, with appropriate references to inter- and multidisciplinary fields and follow the EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training. They should be primarily focused on developing new scientific knowledge through original research on personalised projects.

Inter-sectoral secondments of researchers to other participating organisations, including in third countries, are encouraged when relevant, feasible and beneficial for the researchers and in line with the project objectives. This will increase the employability of the researchers outside academia.

Doctoral Networks should develop substantial training modules, including digital ones, addressing key transferable skills and competences common to all fields and fostering the culture of Open Science, innovation and entrepreneurship as well as good scientific conduct such as research integrity. In particular, Doctoral Networks should adequately prepare doctoral candidates for increased research collaboration and information-sharing made possible by new (digital) technologies (e.g. collaborative tools, opening access to publications and to other research outputs including data, FAIR data management, societal engagement and citizen science, etc.).


Particular attention is paid to the quality of supervision and mentoring arrangements as well as career guidance. Joint supervision of the researchers is mandatory for Industrial and Joint Doctorates.

Career Development Plan

A Career Development Plan must be established jointly by the supervisor and each recruited doctoral candidate. In case of joint supervision, such a plan should be established involving all supervisors. In addition to research objectives, this plan comprises the researcher's training and career needs, including training on transferable skills, teaching, planning for publications and participation in conferences and events aiming at opening science and research to citizens. The plan, established at the beginning of the recruitment, should be revised (and updated where needed) within 18 months.


Applications must be submitted by a consortium including at least three independent legal entities, each established in a different EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country and with at least one of them established in an EU Member State. Should none of them be entitled to award a doctoral degree, a university or a consortium/grouping of academic/research institutions entitled to award a doctoral degree must be added to the project as an associated partner or an associated partner linked to a beneficiary.

All Doctoral Networks (DN, DN-ID, DN-JD): Every beneficiary must recruit, host at their premises and supervise at least 1 researcher;5 · For regular DN and DN-ID, researchers are recruited for minimum 3 and maximum 36 months. For DN-JD, researchers are recruited for minimum 3 and maximum 48 months. In all types of action, they must be enrolled in a doctoral programme and should work full-time on the project.

Eligible Researchers: All researchers recruited in a DN must be doctoral candidates (i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment) and undertake transnational mobility (see the mobility rule definition in section 1). Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible. For all recruitments, the eligibility of the researcher will be determined at the date of their first recruitment in the action. This status will not evolve over the lifetime of the action, even if they are re-recruited at another beneficiary.

For more information, please check the “Guide for Appplicants” document attached.


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