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Published:  19 Jan 2023

MSCA Seal of Excellence awarded to outstanding COFUND proposals

The European Commission awarded the MSCA Seal of Excellence to 21 applicants who presented outstanding proposals but fell short of receiving funding from COFUND in 2021.

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The European Research Executive Agency (REA) received 116 applications for the 2021 call of co-funding for regional, national and international programmes (COFUND), the first under the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation. 26 projects were selected to receive funding.

The European Commission awarded Seal of Excellence certificates to 21 projects that were not selected but scored 85% or higher in the assessment, of which 13 doctoral programmes and 8 postdoctoral programmes.

Certificates were awarded to projects coordinated by institutions based in

  • Spain (5)
  • Germany, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Turkey (2 each)
  • Austria, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom (1 each)

Push for alternative funding

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme provides complementary funding for excellent doctoral and postdoctoral fellowship programmes, which is topped-up by other funding sources.

COFUND spreads the MSCA’s best practices by enhancing researchers’ training and career development whilst promoting high standards and excellent working conditions. It promotes sustainable training and international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility.

Seal of Excellence

Since 2021, MSCA COFUND proposals scoring 85% or higher in the evaluation are eligible to receive the European Commission’s Seal of Excellence.

The Seal of Excellence is a guarantee of the outstanding value of the research project, recognised by a comprehensive and thorough assessment process. Beneficiaries can use this award to obtain alternative funding for their doctoral or postdoctoral programmes.

Thanks to the MSCA Seal of Excellence, other funding bodies are in a position to leverage the Horizon Europe evaluation process if they wish. A proposal which has earned the MSCA Seal of Excellence may be supported by national, regional and institutional level schemes or European funds such as the cohesion policy funds or the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The Seal of Excellence allows research institutions and national authorities to implement a funding scheme in line with their own strategies. Through these schemes, the institutions and national authorities can attract leading talent from abroad, including “diaspora researchers”, increasing the visibility and attractiveness of their host institutions at an international level.

Next steps for successful applicants

Applicants with an evaluation score equal or above 85% have already received their certificate to support them in securing alternative funding from other sources.

Awardees have received a notification in the Funding and Tenders Opportunities Portal, where they can download their Seal of Excellence certificate.

Next funding round coming soon

The call for proposals MSCA COFUND 2022 is open until 9 February 2023.

The next call for proposals MSCA COFUND 2023 will open on 10 October 2023.

Tagged in:  COFUND
Published:  19 Jan 2023