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Network of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action National Contact Points for the mobile scientific and innovation community

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Net4MobilityPlus (Network of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action National Contact Points for the mobile scientific and innovation community)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-08-31

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) are a very specific part of the EU Framework Programmes for research and innovation characterised by a separate set of rules, diversity of target groups and its openness to all scientific disciplines and nationalities. The international network of MSCA National Contact Points (NCP) is usually the first point of information about this attractive but rather complicated programme offering many different opportunities for interested researchers and institutions. Thus, the overall objective of the 3.5 year Net4Mobility+ project was to build up and strengthen the professionalism and visibility of the MSCA NCP network. Ensuring the network’s sustainable development through updating and acquiring new knowledge and exchanging expertise and good practices contributed to equal access to information as well as raising the quality of support provided by each NCP to the worldwide research community. In addition, due to the COVID-19 restrictions introduced all over the world, the consortium took up various actions to enrich the created toolkit in order to meet the challenge of switching from the physical services to the online format.
Net4Mobility+ activities were addressed to the whole MSCA NCPs network composed of newcomers, less and more experienced NCPs from Member States, Associated and Third Countries. This approach aimed at raising general standard of the services provided to the applicants representing various locations, levels of experience, origins and cultures. The activities were tailored based on the results of a survey carried out among the NCPs. Equal and easy access to the project outcomes has been ensured to all the NCPs through the network’s internal repository. In order to enhance the quality and efficiency of the NCP services, the following activities were designed and implemented with an aim of:
• exchanging knowledge through a very efficient internal communicator helping to receive answers and practical advice from the whole network on various MSCA issues on daily basis: 1158 conversation threads; organisation of four NCP Forums allowing the participants to get familiar with the project results. The new NCPs could rapidly acquire the know-how about the MSCA issues and project activities thanks to the Newcomer Welcome Package, 5 posters connecting MSCA daily work with project results and welcome meetings.
• expanding professionalism by organizing 47 various training events related to MSCA issues, transferable skills and cross-cutting aspects of H2020, reaching 1097 MSCA NCPs participation.
• increasing expertise by developing various resources for daily use such as training presentations and case studies helping the NCPs to organise events in their countries; 10 practical recommendations with good practices on how to deal, for instance, with RRI, Open Access, Gender and other challenges the MSCA applicants and beneficiaries might encounter or how to cooperate with external bodies such as researcher diasporas, EURAXESS and Enterprise Europe networks.
• equipping NCPs with tools that supported their daily work and could be easily incorporated in various activities, for instance the MSCA Evolution Guide providing up-to-date data on each MSCA call, including information on changing rules and statistics for each call.

The project outcomes were also addressed to researchers and institutions worldwide that intend to apply for the MSCA funding. The project team developed 13 Handbooks with hints and tips on how to prepare the application for each MSCA call. 9 webinars promoting MSC Actions were conducted for almost 2400 attendees. The recordings available on the project YouTube channel reached more than 9 000 views. The self-assessment tool containing detailed explanation for each question that aimed to check the knowledge about the MSCA call rules reached 10 649 users from more than 1400 institutions located in 65 countries. Moreover, everyone interested in applying for a MSCA grant or implementing one of them may find answers to various questions posted on the project FAQ Blog.
The idea of the project was to raise the quality of the existing support offered to scientific and innovation community interested in applying for the European Union funds and implementing the projects. In order to ensure transparent access to all interested parties: from researchers, R+I institutions and companies to administration and policy makers, the project results were made available on the project website. The published documents not only served for advising stakeholders on how to write the research projects but also helped them find partners and learn from experiences of the MSCA fellows and beneficiaries from different countries. Moreover, information on the project useful results, MSCA calls and related Horizon 2020 aspects were regularly posted on the project social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Information on the project activities and achievements are available in the on-line interactive N4M+ Data Hub (https://net4mobility.iti.gr/).

The project also aimed at promoting the research landscape of 27 Widening Countries so that the worldwide scientific and innovation community was more aware of their potential. Dedicated subpage includes their country profiles and 124 success stories as well recommendations on what instruments these countries could introduce to be more successful in MSCA. Other project activities, such as the MSCA NCPs trainings and workshops organized for their research community, had stimulated high-quality applications with beneficiaries from these countries. According to the conducted study, during the project implementation period, 59% of these countries submitted more MSCA proposals than in the previous 4 years of H2020. 89% hosted more MSCA fellows and two-thirds of the countries were able to double the received funding.
N4M+ website dedicated to Scientific Community
N4M+ Training materials for researchers, Yerevan, Armenia 2019
N4M+ outcomes addressed to the MSCA NCPs
N4M+ kick 0ff meeting, Warsaw, Poland 2018
N4M+ Banner for NCPs website
N4M+ Slide for the NCP's clients
N4M+ outcomes addressed to the worldwide scientific community
N4M+ 18 months accomplished, mid-term meeting, Cracow, Poland 2019