Become a supervisor for an MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow – step by step
This guide aims to give an overview of the application process for potential supervisors for an MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow at KTH. The guide includes tips on how to find a postdoctoral candidate, writing the application and increasing your chances of success.
Why you should act as a supervisor for an MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow
An MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship is prestigious and beneficial for both the host institution and the supervisor, as well as for the fellow. The fellowships offer supervisors an excellent opportunity for recruiting high-quality international researchers to work with you and your group on cutting-edge research for a period of 24 to 36 months. The funding from the Commission covers most of the salary for the mobile researchers as well as some funding to administer and run the project.
For KTH, MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships is a means to attract leading and up-and-coming researchers to an institution or research group, thereby enhancing global visibility and attractiveness. The knowledge transfer will strengthen the research capacity of the host, allowing for strong research and innovation partnerships to be formed, both across countries and sectors. Having supervised an MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow will also look good on your CV!
Find a postdoctoral candidate
As a supervisor, there are several ways to go about finding a candidate, including:
- Search for candidates already on-site at KTH (if possible in accordance with eligibility rules for the action). This is of course a very convenient option, as it allows the candidate and supervisor to easily engage and discuss a potential project. Still, have in mind that the candidate must comply to the mobility rules of MSCA, and also change research focus to be considered competitive.
- Talk to your established network. Perhaps your colleagues in other countries know of someone who may be interested in carrying out a project in your group?
- Participate in conferences. When presenting your own work, make it clear that you are actively looking, but also scan for possible candidates among the other presenters.
- Advertise for a candidate on the web. You can post your hosting offers on the EURAXESS portal for free. Start by creating a login and registering to the organisation profile. KTH already has a profile registered. The posting procedure is quite simple, but a tutorial is available if needed. Contact the Research Support Office, Mia Brandelius ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you want assistance with creating and posting your offer.
Be sure to follow the KTH routine regarding applications for MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships. Since MSCA postdoctoral projects need co-funding, it’s important that your head of department/division is informed about the budget.
Writing the application
Once a supervisor and Postdoctoral Fellow have decided to apply and write an application, take the time to gain a proper understanding of what is expected from both parties, through the MSCA-PF Guide for Applicants, and the Work Programme for Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions . These documents describe the main rules and requirements for the fellowship.
- Focus first on part B. You can download the template from the
EU Funding & tender portal
. Before you start writing the complete proposal, formulate and describe to yourselves:
- What you want to do (formulate aims and training activities)
- Why you want to do it (impact)
- How you want to do it (implementation)
- Part A is filled in online in the portal and consists of information about the researcher and the participating host institution, a gender equality plan, budget, ethics, keywords and some call-specific questions.
- If necessary contact the Research Support Office at KTH, Mia Brandelius ( email@example.com ) for a one-to-one meeting to talk through the requirements for applying, discuss the proposal and straighten out possible question marks. RSO will also provide feedback on your draft, during the writing phase. Do not wait until the last week to ask for feedback, since there may not be enough time for addressing potential issues then.
Increase your chances of success
The competition for MSCA-PF is high. In 2021, the success rate was 13.6 percent for European fellowships and 15.6 percent for global fellowships. 8356 proposals were submitted in 2021. Luckily, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Check the CORDIS website for funded projects to get a better idea of what kinds of proposals are funded.
- A common error is that candidates often focus too much on the scientific excellence part, underestimating the importance of the impact and implementation parts. Be sure that you understand the MSCA-PF’s evaluation criteria! To be successful, your proposal needs to demonstrate high quality for all of the following parts: (i) scientific excellence, (ii) proposed training, (iii) impact of the research and training on the fellow's future career, the host institution and on European research, and (iv) mentoring skills and experience of the supervisor.
- Increase your chances of success by not applying for “more of the same”, instead apply with a different research focus, including activities that you have not had in the past.
- Make sure that your proposal is written in a clear and accessible way, since all evaluators may not be in your immediate field.
- Use the headings of the proposal template to avoid any deduction of points, but introduce subheadings that fit your narrative.