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Section 1

Foreword by coordinator

 

Introduction to MSCA European Training Networks

 

General Information about the MSCA Programme

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) provide grants for all stages of researcher’s careers - from doctoral candidates to highly experienced researchers - and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The MSCA enable research-focused organisations (universities, research centres, and companies) to host talented foreign researchers and to create strategic partnerships with leading institutions worldwide.

The MSCA aim to equip researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career, either in the public or the private sector. The programme responds to the challenges sometimes faced by researchers, offering them attractive working conditions and the opportunity to move between academic and other settings.

The Innovative Training Networks (ITN) of the MSCA aim to improve career perspectives of early stage researchers (ESRs) in both public and private sectors, thereby making research careers more attractive. They aim to work through transnational networking through a partnership of public and private enterprises in the field. In particular, the networks aim to add to the employability of the recruited researchers through exposure to both academia and enterprise, thus extending the traditional academic research-training setting and eliminating cultural and other barriers to mobility.

There are three types of ITN available: European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates and European Joint Doctorates. MISTRAL is a European Training Network that kicked off on 1st January 2019, and will be funded for 48 months until 31st December 2022.

European Training Networks (ETNs) provide joint research training to early stage researchers (ESRs), implemented by at least three partners from in and outside academia. The aim is for the researcher to experience different sectors and develop their transferable skills by working on joint research projects.

 

ESR Recruitment and Employment

An ESR in an ITN project can be hired for a maximum of 36 months.

Each beneficiary must inform appointed ESRs about the job description, conditions, location and the outlined timetable for the implementation of the research and training activities of the individual project, the names of the supervisors, the rights and obligations of the beneficiary towards the ESR.  The beneficiary must host the ESR at their premises, and provide training as well as necessary means for implementing the project. They must ensure that a Personal Career Development Plan is established and support its implementation.

ESRs are also obliged to complete and submit, at the end of their contract, the evaluation questionnaire and, two years later, the follow-up questionnaire provided by the Research Executive Agency.

European Charter and Code of Conduct

The European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for Recruitment are sets of general principles and requirements which specify the roles, responsibility and entitlements of researchers, employers and/or funders of research.

Personal Career Development Plan

The Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP) is agreed by you and your supervisors at the time of your appointment. It provides a plan of your research, training and outreach activities. The PCDP reflects your needs and ambitions during your project and beyond. The PCDP provides a coherent approach to your development in research and transferable skills. The PCDP will be reviewed and updated by you and your supervisors prior to each project meeting.

Your ESR Portfolio is a record of your research and transferable skills, the training undertaken, certificates awarded, courses or modules completed, and evidence of research outputs such as patents, conference and journal papers, or book chapters completed during your ICONIC research project. The ESR Portfolio should be maintained by you and reviewed, updated and signed by your supervisors at least every six months prior to the ICONIC project meetings. At the end of your project, you and your supervisors will conduct a final review and update of the ESR Portfolio and sign it off. You can use this ESR Portfolio as a record of your achievements during your ICONIC project for future career opportunities.

The updated PCDP and ESR Portfolio will be sent to the Project Manager prior to each ICONIC project meeting, during which they will be reviewed by the Supervisory Board. A template of the ICONIC PCDP and ESR Portfolio have been provided to you with this handbook, and are available online in the Intranet of the project website.

 

Finance (salaries)

The funding mechanism of an ETN is fully based on unit costs, with one researcher month equal to one unit. Total costs are estimated as the number of units multiplied by the unit costs. It is advisable that you and your supervisor discuss your project plan at the start of your action, including the costs that will be needed for research, training and networking activities, the training courses necessary for your programme, and the costs for any external conferences you should participate in. This is very important since you have fixed obligations throughout your project which have to be considered when budgeting your project, which includes participation in the three MISTRAL Summer Schools, MISTRAL Conference and annual project meetings.

 

The funding mechanism of an ETN is fully based on unit costs, with one researcher month equal to one unit. Total costs are estimated as the number of units times the unit costs. We suggest that you and your supervisor discuss your project plan at the start of your actions, including the costs that will be needed for research, training and networking activities, the training courses necessary for your programme, and the costs for any external conferences or trade shows you should participate in. This is very important since you have fixed obligations throughout your project which have to be considered when budgeting your project, which includes participation in the ICONIC Summer Schools, International Conference and six-monthly project meetings.

The costs are divided into two main categories, which are A. Costs for Recruited Researchers and B. Institutional Costs, which are subdivided as follows:

A. Costs for Recruited Researchers:

A.1 Living allowance 3110 EUR per month

The living allowance is multiplied by a country correction coefficient, so could be higher or lower than 3110 EUR for your country of recruitment. The living allowance covers your monthly salary before any deductions, including contributions of both employers and employees to social security, pension, taxation and voluntary deductions.

A.2 Mobility allowance 600 EUR per month

The mobility allowance contributes to your personal household, relocation and travel expenses. This allowance does not cover professional costs (e.g., secondments). The mobility allowance is usually taxed, but it depends on national taxation rules.

A.3 Family allowance 500 EUR per month

The family allowance is only for recruited fellows who have family at the time of their recruitment. ‘Family’ means persons linked to the researcher by marriage (or a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the legislation of the country where this relationship was formalised) or dependent children who are actually being maintained by you. This allowance is calculated on the family status at the time of your first recruitment to the project, and does not change. It may or may not be taxed, similar to A.2.

At the start of your recruitment, you have to provide proof (certified copies translated into English or the host country’s language) of your family status to receive the family allowance. Please get in contact with your supervisor and financial manager as soon as possible regarding this matter.

B. Institutional Costs:

B.1 Research, training and networking costs 1620 EUR per month (1800 EUR)

The use of institutional costs is decided by each beneficiary (different to the category A costs that MUST be fully used for you). The research, training and networking costs are used for expenses related to, for example:

- Research costs

- Computers / laptops

- Library costs, books and other research equipment needed for your work

- Training courses and events, including language courses

- Travel and subsistence costs for you and your supervisor to attend network meetings and training events

- Participation in conferences

- Secondments (including travel, accommodation and consumables)

- Co-ordination between participants

- Visa costs

- Reimbursement of costs for an ICONIC partner organisation, based on mutual agreement on arrangements for reimbursement between the beneficiary(ies) and partner organisation(s)

The Queen’s University of Belfast as the lead beneficiary keeps 10 % of the monthly B.1 costs from each ICONIC ESR in a central training budget which is used to organise summer schools, project meetings, the final international conference and other training events. Therefore, your available budget is reduced from 1800

B.2 Management and indirect costs 600 EUR per month (1200 EUR)

The management and indirect costs are split between your internal management obligations and overheads, as decided by your beneficiary. It may cover costs associated with the preparation of reports and other documents (e.g., time of supervisor to prepare financial reports), the overall legal, ethical, financial and administrative management for each of the beneficiaries, and other overheads (such as heating/electricity, rent or personnel costs for administrative staff). In most cases, the beneficiaries keep all of it for overheads.

The Queen’s University of Belfast as the lead beneficiary keeps half of the monthly B.2 costs from each ICONIC ESR in a central management budget which is used to pay the Project Manager and his management obligations. Therefore, the available B.2 costs for each ESR are reduced from 1200 to 600 EUR per month. to 1620 EUR per month.

 

Parental / Maternity Leave, and Sick Leave

You can take maternity or parental leave during the action, in accordance with your host country’s national legislation. However, your activity in the action is suspended during your maternity/parental leave.

 

In accordance with your host country’s national legislation, you can take sick leave.

However, if your sick leave is greater than 30 days

You can take maternity or parental leave during the action, in accordance with your host country’s national legislation. However, your activity in the action is suspended during your maternity/parental leave.

You can take maternity or parental leave during the action, in accordance with your host country’s national legislation. However, your activity in the action is suspended during your maternity/parental leave.

In accordance with your host country’s national legislation, you can take sick leave.

 

In accordance with your host country’s national legislation, you can take sick leave. Units are eligible 100 % for up to 1 month of leave. For long-term leave (> 1 month), the regulation is:

- For the period that your employer has to pay 100 % of your salary per national law, the unit is eligible 100 %.

- For the period that your employer has to pay a percentage (e.g. 50 %) of your salary per national law, the unit is eligible 50 %.

- For the period that your employer does not have to pay your salary per national law, your activity in the action is suspended.

 

Visas for Travelling within the European Union

 

Information on EU Funding

 

Confidentiality and research integrity

If you think about commercially exploiting your research outcomes outside of the consortium, you have to inform the Project Coordinator and Manager, and the ISSG through the six-monthly innovation reports about your plans. The exploitation plans will be discussed by the consortium.

The rules for IP will be written down in the Consortium Agreement and guidance for this agreed by the IPR/Knowledge Exchange sub-committee, using DESCA model60 as a basis. Given the nature of MISTRAL research, there will be a default assumption that data and research findings will ultimately be made open access and IPR exploited for the public good. However, the creation of IP will be monitored by the IPR/Knowledge Exchange committee and any resulting IPR exploited using the relevant Technology Transfer office of host institutions and the MISTRAL Management Support Team. ESRs, host institutions and non-academic partners, defining the nature and rights associated with foreground and background information and if necessary, protection of potentially sensitive commercial information of non-academic partners. Both the Data Management Plan (WP3) and the protocol on Knowledge Exchange and Publication (WP7) will set out implications for IPR and arrangements for respecting these through dissemination via academic papers, briefing papers and other outputs.

 

Timesheets and Record keeping

 

 

Complaints/discipline

 

MISTRAL Handbook Table of Contents