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Developing talents, advancing research

Doctoral Networks

This page explains the purpose of the Doctoral Networks action and who can apply for it.

The information provided below is a summary of the main rules and requirements.

Objective of Doctoral Networks

The objective of Doctoral Networks is to implement doctoral programmes by partnerships of organisations from different sectors across Europe and beyond to train highly skilled doctoral candidates, stimulate their creativity, enhance their innovation capacities and boost their employability in the long-term.

Types of Doctoral Networks

Doctoral Networks implement doctoral programmes, by partnerships of universities, research institutions and infrastructures, businesses including SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond. These doctoral programmes will respond to well-identified needs in various research and innovation areas, expose the researchers to the academic and non-academic sectors, and offer research training, as well as transferable skills and competences relevant for innovation and long-term employability.

Besides standard Doctoral Networks, incentives have been introduced to promote two specific types of doctorates as well.

  1. Industrial Doctorates. They train PhD candidates who wish develop their skills and step outside academia, in particular in industry and business. Individual participants must be enrolled in a doctoral programme and jointly supervised by the academic and non-academic partners.
  2. Joint Doctorates. They provide a highly integrated type of international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration in doctoral training leading to a joint doctoral degree or multiple doctoral degrees awarded by the participating institutions. PhD candidates must be enrolled in a joint programme and be jointly supervised.

Who can apply?

Doctoral Networks are open to international consortia of universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other non-academic organisations. They should include

  • 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
  • on top of this minimum, other organisations from any country in the world can also join
  • specific conditions apply to Industrial and Joint Doctorates

As from 2022, resubmission restrictions will apply for applications that received a score below 80% the previous year.

Candidates wishing to apply for PhD positions under Doctoral Networks should apply to funded Doctoral Network projects by consulting their open vacancies advertised internationally, including on the EURAXESS portal.

What does the funding cover?

All areas of research may be funded and Doctoral Networks can last for up to four years. The duration of each fellowship is between three and 36 months. Each beneficiary must recruit at least one doctoral candidate and can also organise secondments for them anywhere in the world. Funding to recruit additional researchers is proposed as an incentive for Industrial and Joint Doctorates.

Researchers funded by Doctoral Networks

  • must not have a doctoral degree at the date of their recruitment
  • can be of any nationality
  • should be enrolled in a doctoral programme during the project
  • should spend at least 50% of their time outside academia, for Industrial Doctorates
  • should comply with the mobility rules: in general, they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting organisation for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date

The EU provides support for each recruited researcher in the form of

  • a living allowance
  • a mobility allowance
  • if applicable, family, long-term leave and special needs allowances

In addition, funding is provided for

  • research, training and networking activities
  • management and indirect costs

How to apply?

Apply on behalf of an organisation or consortium

Applications to MSCA Doctoral Networks can be submitted at any time from the opening date of the chosen call. The completed proposal, including all annexes, should be submitted by the specified submission deadline of the chosen call.

Applicants can

All relevant documents are available on the dedicated call page on the Funding and Tender Opportunities Portal, including

For more information on the application and evaluation process and contact points for further guidance

Apply for PhD vacancies funded by MSCA Doctoral Networks projects

If you are a researcher looking for a PhD position funded by MSCA Doctoral Networks projects, take a look at the list of vacancies published on EURAXESS updated daily.

EURAXESS is the EU's portal for researchers. You will

  • find the full requirements of the position you are interested in
  • be able to apply directly to the institution or project of your choice
  • find advice about visas, pensions, taxation, recognition of qualifications and other issues related to working as a researcher abroad

For more information visit our page on how to apply.