H2020: Pillar 1 – Excellent Science

For ResearchersH2020: Pillar 1 – Excellent Science

H2020: Pillar 1 – Excellent Science

The ‘Excellent Science’ pillar has no specified priorities, all disciplines and all areas are funded. Within this Pillar there are four sections, each with its own Work Programme: European Research Council (ERC), Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA), Future Emerging Technologies (FET) and Research Infrastructures.

The H2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 was published on 27 October 2017.

For more details of the remaining funding opportunities please visit the European Commission Funding & Tenders Portal

Research Professional

Research Professional is a great way of identifying funding opportunties within Horizon 2020. For a full listing of opportunities related to Pillar 1 – Excellent Science click here to access a customised Research Professional search for all opportunities listed within the Excellent Science pillar.

€30 billion available in research funding between 2018-2020

Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions

The Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions fund the development of researchers and research mobility across the EU and beyond. Innovative Training Networks (ITN) are international and intersectoral networks of HEIs and partners for training new Early Career Researchers (ECR). International Fellowships (IF) are individual fellowships for postdoctoral researchers to travel to a host institution either within the EU or elsewhere. Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE) are intersectoral and/or international staff exchanges.

For more details on eligibility, applicant profiles, and the application process, see the Work Programme for MSCA available here.

Research ProfessionalSee the Research Professional listing of MCSA opportunities.

Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowships

Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowships are an excellent opportunity for researchers of any age, nationality or discipline to obtain and transfer new knowledge and to work on research in a European context or outside Europe. Here at WIT we actively welcome expressions of interest from suitable candidates who would like to work with our researchers to apply to become a Marie Curie Fellow.

WIT was the first Institute of Technology in Ireland to receive the "HR Excellence in Research" designation, identifying us as a provider of a high standard working environment for researchers. Internally, the Research Support Unit has a dedicated EU Research Programmes officer to assist all researchers in identifying and applying for future funding opportunities.

Types of MSCA Fellowships

There are 2 types of fellowships:

• European Fellowships are held in EU Member States or Associated Countries and are open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe for a period of 12 to 24 months.

• Global Fellowships: This action enhances the international dimension of European researchers’ careers by financing research projects to be carried out in two different countries. This action is based on a secondment to a third country (from 12 to 24 months) and a mandatory 12 month return period to a European host institution.

 Eligible Researchers

• The researcher must be an Experienced Researcher: s/he must, at the deadline for the submission of proposals, be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience.

• The researcher may be of any nationality.

• The researcher must comply with the following mobility rule: the researcher must not have resided or carried out the main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline for submission of proposals. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

Note: In the Career Restart Panel (CAR) and Reintegration Panel (RI) the researcher must not have resided or carried out the main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organisation for more than 3 years in the 5 years immediately prior to the deadline for submission of proposals

MSCA Innovative Training Networks

The Innovative Training Networks (ITN) aim to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers (PhD students), able to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit. ITN will raise excellence and structure research and doctoral training, extending the traditional academic research training setting, and equipping researchers with the right combination of research-related and transferable competences. It will provide enhanced career perspectives in both the academic and non-academic sectors through international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility combined with an innovation-oriented mind-set.

A typical Innovative Training Network (ITN) is a consortium of host organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors, including organisations based in Member States and Associated countries. If necessary, the ITN can also include participants from host organisations outside Europe. For more information click here.

MSCA National Contact Points
National Contact Point

Geraldine Canny - MSCA Support for SFI Centres

[email protected]



Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions: Career-FIT+

Career-FIT PLUS aims to enhance the training and mobility of Experienced Researchers through the undertaking of individually-driven, market-focused research projects which will be centered around the domain areas of the designated Technology Centres and Technology Gateways.

Two calls for proposals will award a total of 50 Fellowships to highly skilled researchers to conduct a research project of 36 months in Ireland, including a secondment opportunity in an enterprise partner of the Technology Centre/Gateway.

The Career-FIT PLUS Fellows will have the unique opportunity to carry out research in areas of clear industry focus and gain first-hand experience in a company.

Researchers awarded a Fellowship will be hosted and employed by a Third Level Institution associated with a Technology Centre/Gateway in Ireland.

Fellows will be guided by an experienced Academic mentor as well as a Company mentor who are concerned not just for their scientific progress but also their training and development in line with the agreed career goals.  They will further benefit from participation in a structured development training programme that targets enhancement of personal effectiveness as well as competencies relating to innovation management. For more information on the current calls visit: https://www.horizon2020.ie/career-fit-plus/ 

Career-FIT PLUS National Contact Points
National Contact Point

Micol Martinelli - Enterprise Ireland

[email protected]


European Research Council

The European Research Council funds established scholars at all stages of their career for large-scale ‘frontier research’. All disciplines and subject areas are funded, including inter- or trans- disciplinary. A single researcher is funded, although they may form a research team as part of the project. The aim of the ERC is to fund ‘high-risk, high-gain’ research which will ensure scientific excellence in Europe across all domains.

For more details on eligibility, applicant profiles, and the application process, see the ERC Work Programme 2017.

Research Professional​See the Research Professional listing of the remaining ERC opportunities.

ERC National Contact Points
National Contact Point

Graeme Horley - Science Foundation Ireland

[email protected]


National Contact Point

Maria Nash - Science Foundation Ireland

[email protected]


National Contact Point

Deirdre Quinn - Irish Research Council

[email protected]


Future and Emerging Technologies

Future and Emerging Technologies is a programme to support very new or nascent technologies, ‘in order to turn new knowledge and high-risk ideas into a viable basis for radically new technologies.’ In its aims, it is similar to the ERC, but supports collaborations rather than individual researchers. There are two FET programmes, FET Open, which has no disciplinary restrictions, and FET Proactive, in which themes or priorities are named, but ‘bottom up’ proposals are then encouraged. The FET Proactive themes are currently; ‘Boosting emerging technologies’ and 'High performance computing’.

The current Work Programme for FET is available here.

Research Professional​See the Research Professional listing of the remaining FET opportunities.

FET National Contact Point
National Contact Point

Stephen O’Reilly - Enterprise Ireland

[email protected]


Research Infrastructures

This programme supports the establishment of new infrastructures of European interest or the development of existing infrastructures. It is aimed at enabling all areas of research through the provision of infrastructures, or access to infrastructure. Within e-infrastructures, particular areas have been selected for individual calls, but there is also space for new infrastructures and funding is available for all stages of the establishment of these infrastructures, from design and conception, to implementation.

The current Work Programme for Research Infrastructures is available here.

Research Professional​See the Research Professional listing of the remaining Research Infrastructures opportunities.

Research Infrastructures National Contact Point
National Contact Point

Michael Ryan - Science Foundation Ireland

[email protected]


Science with and for Society (SwafS) 2018-2020 Programme

SwafS is a Horizon 2020 programme that aims to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science, and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is the cornerstone of SwafS, allowing all societal actors to work together during the whole research and innovation process to better align both the process and its outcomes, with the values, needs and expectations of society.

The 2018-2020 SwafS work programme can be found here.

Research Professional​See the Research Professional listing of the remaining Science with and for Society opportunities.

Science with and for Society National Contact Point
National Contact Point


Siobhán Hendrick - Science Foundation Ireland

[email protected]

01-607 3247