Pillar 1: Excellent Science

The scope of the Pillar is to reinforce and extend the excellence of the EU science base in order to make the EU research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale. Supporting the best ideas, developing talents within Europe, providing researchers with access to research infrastructures and making Europe attractive for researchers are the main pillar’s objectives.

The Excellent Science Pillar consists of four parts:

The Excellent Science Pillar consists of four parts: ERC, FET, RI, MSCA

  European Research Council (ERC)

ERC supports frontier research, cross-disciplinary proposals and pioneering ideas in new and emerging fields, which introduce unconventional and innovative approaches. The only evaluation criterion is scientific excellence in order to finance only the most talented and creative researchers and their teams.

ERC principles in brief

  • ERC principles in brief comprises:
  • 1 researcher; 1 host institution; 1 project; 1 selection criterion that is scientific excellence;
  • No consortia, no networks, no co-financing;
  • "Bottom-up" approach: researchers can decide themselves upon the topic of their research project;
  • Applications can be made in any field of research, including social sciences and humanities;
  • Independent researchers from anywhere in the world, of any age and career stage can apply;
  • Host institutions must provide conditions for the researcher to direct the research and manage its funding;
  • The grant is "portable" to another host institution, if the grant holder wishes to transfer it;
  • Research must be carried out in one of the 28 EU member states or associated countries.

Funding Schemes

  • ERC Starting Grants fund early-career promising researchers (2-7 years after PhD) - up to 1.5 million euro for a period of 5 years.
  • ERC Consolidator Grants fund already independent top researchers (7-12 years after PhD) - up to 2 million euro for a period of 5 years.
  • ERC Advanced Grants fund senior exceptional research leaders with widely recognized scientific achievements in the last 10 years - up to 2.5 million euro for a period of 5 years.
  • ERC Proof of Concept Grants fund ERC grant holders to bring their research results closer to the market - up to 150,000 euro for a period of 12 months
  • Synergy Grants (SyG) are addressed to small groups of excellent researchers (from 2 to 4 researchers).


Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for an ERC choosing Padua as your Host Institution, please contact our Individual Grants Unit.

Relevant links
Consider our Talent @Unipd and Stars Grants initiatives.
Learn more about ERC awardees working at the University of Padua. [inserire qui il link alla pagina ERC Grantees.
Go to the ERC official website for more information on the available calls.

  Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

MSCA offer grant opportunities to researchers in all stages of their career.  With the aim of promoting excellence in research and fostering the exchange of knowledge, MSC Actions provide researchers with the opportunity to acquire and transfer new skills and competences in a collaborative, international and inter-sectorial context, and thus to enhance their career development and future prospects. Inter-sectorial, interdisciplinary and international mobility of researchers are the key features of MSCA, which comprise four different actions:

  • Innovative Training Networks (ITN) support competitively selected joint training and doctoral programmes for ESR (early stage researchers, with less than 4 years in research and no PhD), up to 36 months;
  • Individual Fellowships (IF) support the mobility of experienced researchers (with at least 4 years in research or the PhD) within and beyond Europe, from 12 to 24 months;
  • Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE) support short-term staff mobility at all career levels, including administrative and technical staff;
  • Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND) offers additional funding to regional and national programmes for research training and career development.

In particular, MSCA IF and MSCA ITN include the following sub-actions:

The MSCA ITN sub-actions are:

  • European Training Networks: joint research training, implemented by at least three partners in and outside academia – up to 36 months
  • European Industrial Doctorates: joint doctoral training delivered by at least one academic partner and one outside academia – up to 36 months
  • European Joint Doctorates: joint, double or multiple doctoral training delivered by a network of three academic organizations – up to 36 months

The MSCA IF sub-actions are:

  • European Fellowships: open to researchers moving within Europe as well as those coming from other parts of the world (Standard European Fellowships, from 12 to 24 months); to researchers who want to restart a research career after a break (Career Restart Panel, from 12 to 36 months); to researchers coming back to Europe from a third country to find a new position (Reintegration Panel, from 12 to 24 months);
  • Global Fellowships: open to researchers based in EU or associated countries who want to move to a third country and find a position outside Europe (from 24 to 36 months, and the researcher has to come back for one year to an organisation based in EU).


Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for a MSCA choosing Padova as your Host Institution, please contact our Individual Grants Unit.

Relevant links
Check the MSCA@Unipd dedicated section and the list of our MSCA IF Grantees
Consider our MSCA Seal of Excellence@Unipd and MaRaThoN@Unipd initiatives
Go to the MSCA EU website for more information on the available calls

  Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)

This programme aims at initiating radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering. FET programme comprises three lines:

  • FET Open: support early-stage joint science and technology research around new ideas for radically new future technologies. It will explore a wide range of new technological possibilities, inspired by cutting-edge science, unconventional collaborations or new R&I practices;
  • FET Proactive: support emerging novel areas that are not yet ready for inclusion in industry research roadmaps, building and structuring new interdisciplinary research communities around them.
  • FET Flagships: support ambitious, large-scale, long-term and science-driven roadmap-based research initiatives tackling epic challenges. They are expected to provide disruptive impact on science, technology and society.


Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for a FET call for proposals, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit.

Relevant links
Go to the FET EU website for more information on the available calls.

  European research infrastructures

The programme aims at integrating and open national research facilities to international scholars and develop e-infrastructures underpinning a digital European Research Area.

Contacts @Unipd
If you are a researcher wishing to apply for a R.I. call for proposals, please contact our Collaborative Grants Unit.

Relevant links
Go to the R.I. EU website for more information on the available calls.

International Research Office

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