People / Marie Curie

The Marie Curie Programme is a key European instrument that funds excellent researchers and those with a clear potential for future achievement. From the early 1980’s, predating the Framework Programmes, the European Community has promoted the mobility of researchers at all stages of their careers, from PhD to postdoctoral and more senior level. It has funded researchers in all disciplines: from the physical and engineering sciences to the environmental and life sciences, and is one of the few areas where the EC funds researchers in the humanities and social sciences. The programme has also helped to develop R&D capacity in companies large and small.

Through the Marie Curie Programme researchers at Irish institutions and companies have brought in over €60m since 2002. This is an outstanding result as it is more than three times what would be expected given the size of the research population in Ireland. It demonstrates how researchers in Ireland punch above their weight in an internationally competitive environment. It is important to understand that this programme awards funds through a fiercely competitive process based on international peer review. Funded researchers have successfully competed against their peers from over 42 countries across Europe.

The Marie Curie Programme offers a variety of schemes focusing on different objectives (follow the links on the left for details on the different action lines). While some of them address the career development of researchers, others aim at expanding R&D capability of organisations and linking academia to industry. The Seventh Framework Programme has earmarked €4.727bn for Marie Curie schemes. As of the end of 2011, researchers in Ireland have drawn-down €51 million from this funding pot - Ireland's second-largest "take" from FP7. A particular success has been the Industry-Academia Partnerships & Pathways Programme, where, on an annual basis, over 50% of submitted applications are funded.

Our future success in the programme will be an important factor towards the Government’s aim to develop a knowledge-based society, particularly through the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. In particular, our positive experiences in training early career researchers through the Marie Curie Programme are helping shape the development of structured doctoral training and professional development for researchers in our higher education institutions. 

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