Starting soon (between 7 and 10 days after the publication of this post, the deadline for Marie Curie applications is early September), I will offer a consulting service for science researchers interested in applying to either the European or Global Marie Curie Individual Fellowships. Read more below.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (IF) are granted each year to hundreds of experienced researchers (be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience). They have the goal of supporting the mobility of researchers within and beyond Europe, as well as helping attract the best foreign researchers to work in the European Union. The grant usually covers two or three (for Global Fellowships) years' salary, a mobility allowance, research costs, and overheads for the host institution. All research areas can be funded.
There are two types of Individual Fellowships:
- European Fellowships, held in the EU or associated countries and open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe.
- Global Fellowships, which fund secondments outside Europe for researchers based in the EU or associated countries. There is a mandatory one-year return period to Europe for the researcher.
I won a Marie Curie Global Fellowship (it was called a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship at the time, it is the same action) in 2011 for the project RAPIDEVO, which ended in December 2015. I prepared and completed the application in 21 grueling days, starting conceptually from another grant application that I submitted to the Italian Minister of Education and Research. Tips, tricks, insights, and example of successful applications were very hard to find, but through patient work and in almost complete absence of support (with a few, minor exceptions), I was able to prepare an application that was scored in the top 10% of all successful applications for that year (93.5/100).
Reviewers praised the clarity of language in the proposal, the organization of the application, the interdisciplinarity of the proposed research, the selection of experienced and successful scientists as supervisors.
A few months after the end of the Marie Curie Fellowship, I applied for a self-sponsored US Green Card for alien of extraordinary ability in the sciences. If you dream is to become a permanent resident in the US, a Marie Curie Fellowship, along with a good scientific CV, may substantially increase your chances of being granted a Green Card (don't forget to do your peer-reviews!). The large sum available to Marie Curie Fellows for traveling allowed me to spend time in research institutions in Europe, United States, and South America (where I spent the last 3 months of my Fellowship, presenting my work in La Habana, Cartagena, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Santiago de Chile). It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that changed my life for the better.
However, when I was preparing the application for the Marie Curie Fellowship, I wasted way too much of my research and personal time looking for a copy-editor (I found one whom I quickly fired for clear incompetence after having paid $200), pdfs of successful applications (starting from scratch is very hard), and inside baseball for more specific criteria used by reviewers for judging the applications in order to better organize my application. Looking back, I would have certainly taken advantage of the services provided by an experienced consultant. After sending the application, I had to take a week off to recover from the effort! I wrote about my experience writing the application here and here.
Starting soon (between 7 and 10 days after the publication of this post, the deadline for MC applications is early September), I will offer a consulting service for science researchers interested in applying to either the European or Global Fellowships, in particular in the biological sciences, but I can offer insights also outside of the biological sciences. I will provide (a) part B of my successful application, and (b) a 2-hour written consultation after the material is delivered via email: an early stage (1 hour) and a late stage (1 hour) review of part B of the application. I am not a copyeditor, nor an administrator. I read for organization and language, soundness of hypothesis, and overall strength of the application. I also point to useful books and articles for improving English and structure of proposals.
In the last years, the structure of part B of the proposal slightly changed with respect to the proposal I submitted. However, the content is basically the same and the application I wrote was much longer, thus certain sections can be joined together and other parts can be discarded. It is certainly better to have more material than less.
I still provide for free the second-year Marie Curie Periodic report.