5 Tips To Help You Get Started On Your MSCA-IF-2018 Proposal
“The goal of the Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility”.
Here are some useful tips to help get started:
1. Develop your project idea
Writing a one-page proposal is a very good way to get started. Often we can have several research ideas floating around, but it is only when we write these down, that the practical aspects become clear. The one-page proposal will clarify the project idea for you, and it is a very useful way to open up a discussion with potential supervisors. Your proposed research should advance the state of the art, and it can be in any discipline area. Download the Halbert Research One-page proposal template here.
2. Cast a critical eye over your CV
MSCA-IF funding is aimed at excellent researchers. Researchers often feel that they are not in this category, but often they have forgotten to mention important achievements in their CV. Obviously publications are important metrics, but so too is experience working in different sectors (academic and non-academic), ability to take an interdisciplinary approach, organising conferences, winning scholarships or other awards, teaching duties, mentoring others, and usefulness of research findings to date.
3. Find an excellent Supervisor
This will be someone who is interested in your project idea, is well known in the research area, has an excellent track record, for example, relevant publications and other outputs (e.g. patents) in the target field, is a good collaborator at European and international level, has experience in supervising PhDs, is able to work across sectors and disciplines, has a good team or group structure, and is available and committed to being your supervisor.
4. Start the conversation now
Ideally you should visit your chosen supervisor and work on the together on the project idea. This also gives you the opportunity to get a good feel for the organisation and the location you plan to move to, if funded. Summer holidays will arrive in the middle of your proposal-writing!. The deadline for MSCA-IF-2018 is in September 2018, so much of the proposal preparation is typically done over the summer months in June-July-August. This is challenging as different organisations have varying ‘summer break times’, and your supervisor and team may not be available when you expect. Also, there is some administration to be completed and you may need the help of research support staff. They are busy people, so you will need to book this support well in advance.
5. Get familiar with the H2020 requirements
Make sure that you use the correct proposal templates for your MSCA-IF proposal. These can change slightly from year to year, and must be downloaded from the Call page, once you register. If you haven’t used the EC H2020 portal before, ask someone to help you – this could be a friend who has previously won funding, or your supervisor, or someone in your research support office. Also, don’t forget that there are National Contact Points in each country for every H2020 programme, and they can advise you. You can find your National Contact Point here.