Eligibility conditions for FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Networks

(Excerpt from the 'Guide for Applicants for Marie Curie Initial Training Networks', Edition: February 2007)

2.3 Eligible researchers

The Marie Curie actions address researchers in terms of their skills and competence development at different stages of their careers, in both public and private sector. In all cases the targeted researchers are at least at post-graduate or equivalent level and the definitions of eligible researchers are based on their professional experience in research and not on their age.

2.3.1 Who are the targeted researchers in ITN?

Recruitment for Initial training

ITNs support the initial training of researchers who are still within the first five years (or full-time equivalent) of their careers in research, at the time of their appointment.

Early-stage researchers (ESR)

The network's training aims must be predominantly directed at early-stage researchers, including inter alia training within Ph.D. programmes.


Early-stage researchers are defined as those in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, starting at the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is envisaged.

Example A: a researcher has graduated with a first degree in biology in 2004 and would like to start her Ph.D. studies in 2007. She is eligible as an ESR within the ITN as she has less than 4 years of research experience and no PhD.

Example B: a researcher has already been working as a researcher in industry for two years since graduating with his first degree in chemistry. He would be able to benefit from participation in an ITN as an ESR even without pursuing a Ph.D. degree.

Experienced Researchers within their first five years of their career (ER)

While maintaining the training of Early-stage Researchers as the primary objective, some networks might justify the involvement of experienced researchers within the first five years of their research career for the purpose of completing their initial training.


Experienced researchers must, at the time of recruitment (i) be in possession of a doctoral degree, independently of the time taken to acquire it, or (ii) have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience, including the period of research training, after obtaining the degree which formally allowed them to embark on a doctorate in the country in which the degree/diploma was obtained or in the host country (irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged).

The research experience of an experienced researcher recruited for initial training may not exceed 5 years at the time of the appointment.

Example A: a researcher obtained her PhD after 4 years and subsequently worked in research for 13 months under a postdoctoral position. She would not be eligible to be appointed as an ER within the first five years of her career.

Example B: three years after obtaining his undergraduate degree, a researcher obtained his PhD. He took a career break of two years for family reasons but would like to continue his research career. He is eligible to take part in an ITN as an ER to complete his initial training.

It should be noted that an individual researcher may not be recruited first as an early-stage researcher and subsequently as an experienced researcher in the same network.

2.3.3 Conditions of nationality and mobility of researchers

Researchers are normally required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. Two general rules apply to the appointment of researchers in a network:

· Researchers can be nationals of any country other than the country of the premises of the host organisation where they will carry out their project; however nationals of countries outside the EU and Associated States can only be recruited by hosts that are located in

Member States or Associated States.

· Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the host for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment

Example: a French researcher has moved to Germany for the first time and has carried out research there for the last six months. He can be appointed within an ITN team in Germany.