General information and eligibility criteria

Key dates

  • January 2021:  Launch 13 ESR positions
  • Deadline for application for ESR positions: Each position has a different deadline for application. Please refer to the ESR description page for the individual deadlines.
  • April – May 2021: Interviews
  • June 2021 or by agreement: Targeted starting date for ESR contracts.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants need to fully comply with four eligibility criteria: 

  • Academic Qualification: The applicant has obtained before the start date of the ESR a degree that formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate in the host country. The degree should be in the area specified by the ESR project (or related disciplines).
  • Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the first degree which formally entitles 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 was envisaged. Please note applicants cannot already hold a PhD.
  • Conditions of international mobility of researchers: researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of appointment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account. Researchers from any country (not only from European Union) are welcome to apply.
  • English language: ESR candidates must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training. 

Benefits and salary

ITNs are financially supported by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) because they provide excellent research, training and career aspects. The benefits of being a PhD student in an ITN network include: 

  • the chance to participate in specially developed courses (e.g. on specific techniques, academic soft skills) 
  • building your personal professional network at a very early stage of your career due to the embedding of our PhD projects in an academic/industrial network 
  • being exposed to industry and the challenges in industry already during the PhD
  • the opportunity to spend some time in the labs of other partners (and get familiar with other disciplines, techniques, cultures etc.), as the research projects are designed such that they will mostly have interdisciplinary components 
  • being advised by excellent group leaders – they are all outstanding in their research and training

The ITN programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. The salary includes a generous living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (depending on family situation) comprising: 

  • Living Allowance of €3270/month (gross) to be paid in the currency of the country where the Host Organisation is based and with a correction factor to be applied per country. The exact (net) salary will be confirmed upon offer and will be based on local tax regulations and on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States)
  • Mobility allowance of €600/month to be paid to all ESRs recruited
  • Family allowance of €500/month, depending on family situation.

The ESR will be contractually employed for 36 months by their host institution and will be covered under the social security scheme of the enrolling country.

In addition to their individual scientific projects, all ESRs will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences. 

Application process

The selection committee will ensure and promote gender/based equal opportunities and non-discrimination (“Priorities and Key Actions for 2016-2019” of the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, the “Strategic engagement to gender equality 2016-2019” and the 2011-2020 European Pact for gender equality) and actively pursue gender balance in personnel hiring.

Applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Educational record
  2. Scientific quality of the applicant’s CV
  3. Expected impact and benefit to the fellow and to the project
  4. Previous experiences in the area of the SURFICE research programme
  5. Understanding of the research theme, critical analysis and result-reporting abilities
  6. Teamwork, public awareness activities and mobility experiences

Applications must contain:

  • Application form (download link below)
  • An up-to-date CV, detailing work experience and research and academic achievements
  • A cover letter exposing the candidate motivation for the fellowship
  • At least two reference letters from a (former) supervisor, professor or a manager with contact information.
  • Scanned copy of the degree (usually the master’s degree) which would formally entitle the candidate to embark on a doctorate. If the degree has not been obtained yet, the applicant will have to ensure that the date of graduation will be earlier than the start date of the ESR contract.
  • Transcript of records (applicant’s ranking and marks) for both Bachelor degree and Master degree. In case the applicant has not obtained their Master degree yet, a copy of the most up to-date Master grades should be provided
  • a copy of an identity document.

NOTE: If candidates are interested in multiple positions, they must apply to independently and separately to each of them, following the indications provided in each ESR description page.

An English language certificate is desirable.

Any document not originally in English must be provided together with an English translation.

All documents must be submitted as indicated in each PhD position proposal (be e-mail or on the recruitment website of the institution).

The application process is different for each position.