Liverpool experts help shape the training of the next generation of researchers

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AVA project manager Theun van Veen presented a talk about 'Researcher training – benefits from a cohort approach'.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) target the development of excellent researchers through international and cross-sector mobility. MSCA networks support joint doctoral programmes, implemented by European partnerships of universities, research institutions, industry (incl. SMEs) and other non-academic organisations.

Participants at the online MSCA workshop.

An expert workshop on ‘MSCA Networks - Training the next generation through collaborative programmes’ was held on 29 September 2021, hosted by the University of Liverpool’s QUASAR Group. The online event attracted staff at academic and non-academic organisations from across Europe, who are planning to participate in one of the next MSCA Doctoral Networks.

Since 2008, the QUASAR Group, founded by Prof Carsten P. Welsch, has led no less than five MSCA and has been in charge of the training of almost 100 Fellows. The AVA project has received nearly 4M€ funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Over 30 partners from universities, research centres and industry contributed to the training of 16 Fellows in the network.

The QUASAR Group has extensive experience in the specific needs of large-scale collaborations and is responsible for the day-to-day management of research and training projects, partner contracts, science communication and outreach.

Formal project evaluations have commended the communication and outreach as “exemplary” and “outstanding in disseminating project results to the general public”, and have been highlighted by the European Commission as “success story”.

This places the Group in an ideal position to share best practice and provide participants at the workshop with a detailed understanding of the opportunities (and challenges) that the MSCA Doctoral Networks scheme offer.

The workshop programme included speakers from UK Research Office (UKRO), several experts from CERN and experts from the QUASAR Group.

Rubén García Alía (CERN) gave an overview about the RADSAGA ITN project at CERN.

Prof Welsch, AVA Coordinator and Head of Liverpool’s Physics Department, said: “MSCA networks are ideal to enable cutting edge collaborative research. They are based on close collaboration between universities, research centres and industry. We have clearly seen that the innovative and extensive training, development and research opportunities our MSCA Fellows received could simply not be offered by a single university.

MSCA networks are intended to provide doctoral students with excellent research skills, coupled with experience outside of academia to develop their innovative capacities and boost their employability.

A call for applications is currently open and more information about MSCA doctoral networks can be found at: