ITN supports competitively selected joint research training and/or doctoral programmes, implemented by partnerships of universities, research institutions, research infrastructures, businesses, SMEs, and other socio-economic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond.
Partnerships take the form of collaborative European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates (EID) or European Joint Doctorates (EJD).
Each programme should have a clearly identified supervisory board co-ordinating network-wide training and establishing active and continuous communication and exchange of best practice among the participating organisations to maximise the benefits of the partnership.
The programme should exploit complementary competences of the participating organisations, and enable sharing of knowledge, networking activities, the organisation of workshops and conferences.
Training responds to well identified needs in defined research areas, with appropriate references to inter- and multidisciplinary fields and follows the EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training. It should be primarily focused on scientific and technological knowledge through research on individual, personalised projects.
In order to increase the employability of the researchers, the research training should be complemented by the meaningful exposure of each researcher to the non-academic sector. Secondments of the researcher to other beneficiaries and partner organisations are encouraged, but should be relevant, feasible, beneficial for the researchers and in line with the project objectives.
Substantial training modules, including digital ones, addressing key transferable skills common to all fields and fostering the culture of Open Science, innovation and entrepreneurship will be supported.
In order to reflect the new modus operandi of research supporting the development of open science, training should prepare early-stage researchers for increased research collaborations and information-sharing made possible by new (digital) technologies (e.g. collaborative tools, opening access to publications and to research data, FAIR[[FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable.]] data management, public engagement and citizen science, etc.).
A Career Development Plan should be established jointly by the supervisor(s) and each early-stage researcher recruited by the selected network. In addition to research objectives, this plan comprises the researcher's training and career needs, including training on transferable skills, teaching, planning for publications and participation in conferences.
Attention is paid to the quality of supervision and mentoring arrangements as well as career guidance. Joint supervision of the researchers is mandatory for EJD and for EID, and encouraged in ETN. In EID, the joint supervision of the researcher must be ensured by at least one supervisor from the academic sector and one supervisor from the non-academic sector. These arrangements will be taken into account during the evaluation of the proposal.
In EID and EJD, fellowships offered to early-stage researchers should lead to a doctoral degree. EJD result in joint[[Joint degree – a single diploma issued by at least two higher education institutions offering an integrated programme and recognised officially in the countries where the degree-awarding institutions are established.]], double or multiple doctoral degrees[[Double or multiple degree - two or more national diplomas issued by two or more higher education institutions and recognised officially in the countries where the degree-awarding institutions are established.]] awarded by institutions from at least two different countries, primarily within Europe.
In EID and EJD, enrolment in a doctoral programme and the creation of a joint governance structure - with joint admission (EJD only), selection, supervision, monitoring and assessment procedures - is mandatory. These arrangements will be taken into account during the evaluation of the proposal.
At researcher level:
- Increased set of skills, both research-related and transferable ones, leading to improved employability and career prospects both in and outside academia (leading in the longer-term to more successful careers)
- Increase in higher impact R&I output and more knowledge and ideas converted into products and services
- Greater contribution to the knowledge-based economy and society
At organisation level:
- Enhanced cooperation and better transfer of knowledge between sectors and disciplines
- Improvement in the quality of training programmes and supervision arrangements
- Creation of new networks and enhanced quality of existing ones
- Boosting R&I capacity among participating organisations
- Increased internationalisation of participating organisations
At system level:
- Increase in international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility of researchers in Europe
- More structured and innovative doctoral training, enhanced implementation of the European Charter and Code and the EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training
- Stronger links between the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), notably through supporting the knowledge triangle between research, innovation and education
- Improvement in the working and employment conditions for doctoral candidates in Europe
- Increased societal and economic relevance of European higher education
- Strengthening Europe's human capital base in R&I with a new generation of more entrepreneurial and highly-skilled early career researchers
- Increase in Europe's attractiveness as a leading research destination, accompanied by a rise in the numbers of talented researchers attracted and retained from abroad
- Better quality research and innovation contributing to Europe's competitiveness and growth