On 14 October 2015, the EC published the new annual call for proposals in the Marie Sklodowska-Curie action “Innovative Training Networks” (ITN), namely including European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates (EID) and European Joint Doctorates (EJD). The deadline for the submission of proposals is 12 January 2016.
All ITN schemes are highly competitive with success rates for ETNs well below the 10% in the previous call. To fulfil the formal requirements and to enter the competition it is critical to both strictly follow the guidelines for the Part B document and to prepare an excellent proposal, highlighting the research innovation and a well-planned training programme. Changes in the ETN proposal template since last year include the following:
- The Part B of the proposal now has to be submitted as two separate documents: Document 1 comprises the cover page, list of participants data and Sections 1-3. Document 2 must consist of Sections 4-7.
- The rules for the first pages have become more strict: The cover page must comprise one full page and the list of participants, data for non-academic beneficiaries and declarations table a maximum of 2 pages. Any remaining space in these first pages must be left blank. As the limit for Section 1-3 remains at 30 pages, the overall Part B document 1 must not exceed 33 pages. There is no page limit on Document 2.
- The EC explicitly emphasizes, that they do not like to see any reference to the outcome of previous evaluations.
In addition, the official Guide for Applicants (PDF) now includes "incorporating the elements of Open Science" into doctoral training as a new objective of the ITNs. This seems to reflect the growing emphasis put by the EC on making the results of publicly funded research freely available, e.g. via open access publications and open research data.
Although the threshold for proposals to be eligible for funding is 70% only projects with an estimated 95% and higher scores stand a realistic chance to get funded. Follow the evaluation criteria on page 60 of the Work Programme (PDF file here) to ensure that your proposal addresses all requirements. Additionally, it is important to include companies, SMEs and/or industry, as Beneficiaries and/or Partner Organisations. Examples for such intersectoral partnerships and successful H2020 ETN projects are for example ClickGene and EXCILIGHT.