Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The Innovative Training Networks (ITN) aim to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers, 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 inter-sector mobility combined with an innovation-oriented mind-set.


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 partners to maximise the benefits of the partnership.

The programme should exploit complementary competences of the participants, and enable networking activities, the organisation of workshops and conferences to facilitate sharing of knowledge, new skills acquisition and the career development of researchers.

Training responds to well identified needs in defined research areas, with appropriate references to interdisciplinary fields. 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 and by substantial training modules addressing key transferable skills common to all fields (e.g. entrepreneurship, management and financing of research activities and programmes, management of intellectual property rights, other exploitation methods of research results, ethical aspects, communication, standardisation and societal outreach). The training follows the EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training[1].

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. In the case of EJD, the successful completion of the programme must result in the award of joint, double or multiple doctoral degrees.

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.

A Career Development Plan should be established jointly by the supervisor(s) and the early-stage researcher recruited by the selected network. In addition to research objectives, this plan comprises the researcher's training and career needs, including planning for publications and participation in conferences.

Expected impact:

•                ITN will create and contribute to high-quality innovative research and doctoral training, build capacity, and have a structuring effect throughout Europe and beyond.  

•                Through research training provided by the institutions from different countries, sectors and disciplines, this action will trigger cooperation between organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors.

•                It will enhance skills development and knowledge-sharing, enhancing researchers' employability and providing them with new career perspectives.

•                ITN will shape future generations of entrepreneurial researchers capable of contributing effectively to the knowledge-based economy and society.

•                In the long term, it will also raise the attractiveness of research careers and encourage young people to embark on this career path.


Type of action: Marie Skłodowska-Curie action.


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