Let´s talk grants


In our BLOG we aim to address current reluctance to apply for competitive research funding that has considerable impact on competitiveness and research excellence specifically in EU13 countries. In SCIOTHECA we would love to contribute to changing the perception of ERC and MSCA schemes in EU13 and other countries and increasing the success of our researchers. To do so, we want to promote sharing experiences and raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits that ERC, MSCA and COST grants offer. We intend to publish articles that will inspire, help eliminate doubts and prejudices and will encourage scientists to push their career forward and become successful and independent scientists.

A successful MSCA fellow advises on what to look out for when writing MSCA postdoctoral fellowship

What was the biggest challenge and what surprised Sara D´Armario, one of the successful MSCA fellows, during preparation of her project proposal? You can find it out from the following interview, where Sara shares with us her experience with writing her grant. Sara dedicated almost a month just to revising (not writing) her proposal with various people, and we were happy to contribute to shaping and polishing her proposal. Her project received the full score and thanks to this great success Sara can start her postdoctoral position at the University of Oslo and conduct additional research training at Casa Paganini in Genova. We would like to thank Sara for her trust and wish that all her dreams, not only the professional ones, will continue to come true.

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Sharing the insights of a successful MSCA fellow

A new call for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships will open in a few days. In the previous call in 2021, six out of ten of our clients were successful in obtaining the funding. The scores of the winning proposals ranged from 94% to 98%. All of the awarded applicants began project preparation several weeks before the deadline for their submission and underwent more than one round of revisions. In all successful proposals supervisor played an active role in their development. As a reward for the  great joint efforts of the applicant and the host institution, these talented researchers will get the opportunity to turn their amazing scientific ideas into reality and fulfil their career goals. We appreciate that one of these applicants shared his insights and valuable experience with us. We believe it may inspire those who consider applying for the MSCA PF this year or anytime in the future. Dr. Naveen Tiwari will be working as a MSCA fellow at CiQUS, a research center at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and he kindly answered some of our questions.

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Best practices for future ERC applicants

As the last calls for ERC Starting and Consolidator grants closed recently, it is time to reflect on gained experience and summarize brief lessons learned. In this article, we aim to bring reader´s attention to four best practices, which we consider beneficial to ensure high quality and competitiveness of the ERC proposals; however, we have often see them underestimated or completely neglected. There is no doubt that the preparation of an ERC project requires a lot of time, commitment and diligence. However, the long nights in solitude spent solely on writing and contemplating the proposal are no guarantee of success. We encourage future ERC applicants to keep an open mind and pay due attention to the following advices based on real-life experience of your colleagues scientists.

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Interview with Zuzana Capkova, the czech national contact point for MSCA and ERC

Anyone planning to submit a grant application under Horizon Europe should know about the possibility of using the complex services of national contact points (NCPs) in their respective country. Here we present an interview with NCP for ERC and MSCA for the Czech Republic, Mrs. Zuzana Capkova. We appreciate that she took the time to explain to our readers how she as NCP can help young scientists applying for ERC and MSC IF and which training workshops she organizes for them this year.

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Talking about the life of PhD students and postdocs in the Czech academic environment with Katerina Cidlinska

We discussed with Katerina Cidlinska, PhD various factors influencing careers of early career scientists in the Czech Republic, relatively low scientific mobility, main reasons for quitting the scientific career and possible solution that could prevent it all. Katerina Cidlinska PhD. is a sociologist who focuses her research on studying working environment in academia, support to early-career researchers, mentoring, gender inequalities in academia, exits from academic career, intersectoral mobility or professional identities.

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Smooth transition of ERC to Horizon Europe

European Research Council (ERC) is considered the flagship of European research funding. To date, ERC has supported almost 10 000 breakthrough scientific projects and ERC grantees have won prestigious prizes, including 7 Nobel Prizes, 4 Fields Medals and 5 Wolf Prizes. It is great news that the key features to which the ERC owes its uniqueness will remain unchanged even during forthcoming framework program Horizon Europe.

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Veronika Mikitova, PhD.

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