Sometimes Science is not enough

Mobility is a key aspect of research training. As a young scientist doing my PhD in a developing country I knew (and so did my colleagues) that we must thrive to get experience in the top research arenas of our fields. Usually, coming from South America like I did, that meant targeting USA, Canada or Europe.

When I see applications of the new generations aiming to follow the same path, applying to mobility funding such as MSCA, Humboldt or Fulbright, I notice the shortcomings of their research proposals. The most striking part is the reason for their failure is not the science. The applicants are usually very prepared and explain their rationale clearly and convincingly. It is not the science that makes the proposal fail. It is the ‘non-scientific parts’ of the proposal. Most funding agencies are requiring more than the scientific question and plan to be impeccable- they are looking for the impact. Impact means different things to different funding sources in a variety of geographies. Understanding the ‘beyond science’ parts and addressing them will make the difference between getting funding and not being successful. Every section of the application counts!

Are you planning an MSCA application? Here are some tips:

  1. Remember to describe the benefit from mobility for your career as well as for the host institution/laboratory/research group. This is key in evaluation of your research proposal.
  2. The reviewers will read approximately 15 proposals. Make the proposal as readable as possible!
  3. Remember to explain well why the mobility period at this host is critical for your career advancement.
  4. When applying for MSCA we recommend you contact the host institution research administration. It is common for host institutions have specific support staff that will provide valuable guidance when preparing a proposal.

Pensuasive Scientific Writing has extensive experience related to MSCA. We would like to support you when preparing your proposal to ensure you can compete in similar terms with other applicants receiving support in European institutions.

Good luck with your MSCA and other mobility applications!