The European Commission has awarded Seal of Excellence certificates to 1,607 researchers who applied under the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships call in 2022 but whose proposals could not be funded due to budgetary constraints.
This label recognises the value of these high-quality proposals and helps individual applicants secure alternative funding, whilst host institutions gain international visibility and attractiveness. Certificates will go to proposals coordinated by organisations based in 31 countries.
Next steps for certificate awardees
Awardees will receive a notification in the Funding and Tenders Opportunities Portal and their Seal of Excellence certificate will be available and downloadable from the “Process documents” section. Those unable to access the portal should contact their supervisor or host organisation .
MSCA Seal of Excellence holders are advised to consult the list of available support at national / regional level. Out of the 22 available funding schemes, 4 have calls that are currently open for applicants who received a certificate.
About the Seal of Excellence
The Seal of Excellence is awarded to project proposals submitted under a Horizon Europe call that reached a high score (85% or more) in the assessment but were not funded by Horizon Europe due to budgetary limitations.
The Seal of Excellence is a guarantee of the outstanding value of the research project. It allows funding bodies at national, regional and institutional level to benefit from an independent, peer-reviewed comprehensive and international evaluation process.
Since 2017, over 1,030 individual Postdoctoral Fellowships applicants have found alternative funding thanks to the Seal of Excellence. Based on the success of Seals awarded under the Postdoctoral Fellowships for the first time in 2022, MSCA Seals of Excellence were also awarded to 21 COFUND proposals.
Funding schemes in place
22 funding schemes are currently in place across 14 EU Member States for MSCA Seal of Excellence holders who applied to Postdoctoral Fellowships and COFUND.
Eight were established in low research and innovation performing countries of the European Union and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme, also referred to as “widening countries”. The Seal promotes a more balanced circulation of scientists across Europe while increasing the visibility and attractiveness of host institutions in these countries at an international level. This initiative is also in line with the Widening Strategy for Horizon Europe.
The Seal of Excellence allows research institutions and national authorities to implement a funding scheme in line with their own strategies. Half of the 22 support schemes currently in place were set up at national level, four of them are regional-level schemes and the remaining seven are funded at institutional level.
Four schemes are currently making use of cohesion policy funds under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
More recently, new schemes have been launched and funded under national Recovery and Resilience Plans showcasing successful synergies between Horizon Europe and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
Next funding round coming soon
The next call for Postdoctoral Fellowships will open on 12 April 2023.