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Last update // 30 November 2005 //


Eligibility criteria for Early Stage Training fellowships Recruitments must respect both the eligibility criteria for the researchers and the ones applicable to the projects.

EST Researchers
In accordance with Annex III Article 3 of the contract each eligible researcher must simultaneously fulfil the following 3 criteria at the time of appointment by the contractor in the frame of his/her project:

  • 1. Nationality
    Member State of the Community or; Associated State or; third country if legal residence/main activity has been in a Member State or Associated State for at least 4 years of the 5 years prior to the appointment; in that case the researcher will be considered a national of the state in which he/she has resided for the longest period.

  • 2. Mobility

    • nationality must be different from the State in which the contractor is located

    • in case of multiple nationalities, the researcher could be hosted by a contractor located in the country of his/her nationality provided the researcher has not resided there during the previous 5 years

    • at the time of appointment, the legal residence/main activity may not have been in the country of the contractor for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the appointment. Short stays such as holidays are not taken into account

    • researchers holding the nationality from a Member State or an Associated Candidate State can carry out their research training activities in their country of nationality if they can provide evidence testifying that their legal residence/main activity was in a third country for at least 4 of the last 5 years immediately prior to the appointment

    • a researcher from a third country cannot carry out his/her research training activities in a third country

    • a researcher who is a national of a Member Sate of the Community or an Associated State can only be appointed by a research team of a contractor located in a third country if it is essential for the project and with prior approval of the Commission

    These mobility rules do not apply when the host institution is

    • an international European interest organisation or,
    • an international organisation (for multi-partner projects only) or
    • the JRC.

    a researcher cannot carry out the project at the legal entity where he/she has been working for more than the last 12 months prior to the appointment16.

  • 3. Qualifications and research experience

    • researcher is within the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of research activity (including training) since gaining a university degree (or equivalent) giving access to doctoral studies in the country in which the degree was obtained;

    • the degree entitles the holder to embark on doctoral studies without having to acquire any further qualifications;

    • researchers who have already obtained a doctoral degree are not eligible.

    16 Annex II Article 19 Paragraph 5

Marie Curie Actions Early Stage Training (EST)
The Workprogramme makes it clear that for host-driven actions, the reference deadline for eligibility is the selection of the eligible researchers. Nevertheless, in the general conditions of the contract, the ‘selection’ of the researchers is linked to the ‘appointment’.

In practice of course, it is entirely possible that the selection date (following an interview process for example) could precede the date of appointment (date on which the researcher signs the contract) by days, weeks or even months in some cases. In terms of all eligibility criteria however, it is crucial that the young researcher fulfils the eligibility conditions on both the dates of selection and the date of appointment (if different) in order that the associated costs would be eligible under the contract.

Example: A university wishes to appoint a young researcher in the context of an EST contract. The young researcher has three years of full time research experience, no PhD and has already spent 8 months at the institution in the context of an FP5 training site. She would fulfil the eligibility criteria of transnational mobility, and research experience, as long as the university selects and appoints her within 12 months of her arrival in the host institution.

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