Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe (CAROLINE)
The IRC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) COFUND Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme entitled CAROLINE – ‘Collaborative Research Fellowships for a Responsive and Innovative Europe’ will provide experienced researchers** with an opportunity to obtain a prestigious research mobility and career development Fellowship. Successful candidates will carry out research either in Ireland or abroad and will gain inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary exposure through this programme.
CAROLINE will attract experienced researchers from any discipline to conduct research relevant to the themes of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for shared economic prosperity, social development, and environmental protection. The 17 goals within Agenda 2030 are relevant for researchers across all academic disciplines and will be of interest to researchers with diverse career objectives in mind, including those within academia, civic society, and industry.
The aims of the fellow ships are to support suitable highly qualified experienced researchers in any discipline to:
conduct research relevant to the overarching theme of global sustainable development as set out under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for shared economic prosperity, social development, and environmental protection;
- engage in international collaboration with suitable NGOs or IOs;
- experience and benefit from international mobility;
- avail of relevant training and career development opportunities;
- increase their chances of gaining a future senior research position, including in the non-academic sector.
Types of fellowships
The Council offers two types of CAROLINE fellowships. Applicants may only apply for one fellowship.
Researchers awarded an Irish fellowship will be hosted by a home host institution in Ireland for two years, with a mandatory secondment of between six and twelve months’ duration during this time to a main partner organisation located in Ireland with an optional placement to a placement partner organisation possible (up to three months). The main partner organisation can be legally established outside of Ireland provided that it has physical presence (an office, research facilities etc.) in Ireland and can provide the necessary support to the researcher locally in Ireland.
Researchers awarded an International fellowship will spend the first two years seconded to their main partner organisation outside Ireland, with a mandatory one-year return phase at their home host organisation in Ireland, with the potential for optional placements to placement partner organisation(s). Placements can be up to six months in the outgoing phase and another six months in the return phase.
Fellows will be selected for CAROLINE awards following a transparent, merit-based, impartial and equitable selection procedure, based on international peer review. Details of the process and evaluation criteria are provided in the Guide for Applicants.
Only complete applications submitted by eligible applicants and supported by eligible main partner organisations and, where applicable, by placement partner organisations, will be assessed.
All CAROLINE applicants must fulfil the criteria for one of the following two experienced researcher types:
Experienced researcher type 1 has been awarded their doctoral degree within the seven-year period before the time of recruitment. Eligible career breaks of up to five years are taken into account. For the purposes of this condition the date of graduation will be taken into account.
Experienced researcher type 2 does not hold a doctoral degree, but holds a master’s degree or an undergraduate degree such as a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, enabling him/her to embark on a doctorate in Ireland or the country in which the qualification was obtained; and before the time of recruitment, has completed at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience following the qualification which would enable her/him to embark on a doctorate in Ireland or the country in which the qualification was obtained.
CAROLINE fellows must be able to communicate to the requisite standard through the English language. A statement confirming same by the home host institution will be required as part of the endorsement of the application.
- Applicants for the Irish fellowship: Eligible applicants are those of any nationality or residency who have not been in Ireland for more than twelve months in the three years prior to the time of recruitment. For refugees under the Geneva Convention, the duration of the refugee procedure will not be counted as a period of residence in Ireland.
- Applicants for the International fellowship: Eligible applicants are those who have not been in the country of the main partner organisation outside Ireland for more than twelve months in the three years prior to the time of recruitment. For refugees under the Geneva Convention, the duration of the refugee procedure will not be counted as a period of residence in the country of the main partner organisation.
- If the secondment is to be undertaken in a country other than an EU member state (MS) or an associated country (AC), the applicant must either be a national/resident citizen of an EU MS or AC, or have been continuously active in research for five years’ full-time equivalent in a MS or AC, prior to the time of recruitment. If this condition is not met, the applicant will be deemed ineligible.
- CAROLINE fellows must not currently hold or have held a Council INSPIRE, CARA or ELEVATE postdoctoral fellowship.
- CAROLINE fellows must not be a permanent member of staff in a HEI/RPO in Ireland which would be their home host organisation for the fellowship.
- CAROLINE fellows must not be a permanent member of staff in the proposed main partner organisation.
- Fellows of any nationality may hold a CAROLINE fellowship. However, fellows must satisfy the home host organisation’s and main partner organisation’s country’s regulations on immigration. CAROLINE fellows must have the support of their host institutions with respect to these regulations and requirements if not a national of a member state of the EU.
- CAROLINE International fellows must maintain their principal residence outside Ireland in the country of the main partner organisation during their outgoing phase and in Ireland for the return phase of the fellowship. Where an optional placement in another country is proposed and approved by the Council, the fellow will be required to maintain their principal residence in the country of the approved placement partner organisation.
- CAROLINE Irish fellows must maintain their principal residence in Ireland during the entire duration of their CAROLINE Irish fellowship. Where an optional placement outside of Ireland is proposed and approved by the Council, the fellow will be required to maintain their principal residence in the country of the approved placement partner organisation.
- For all fellowships, arrangements with respect to immigration and the entitlement to work in Ireland will be a matter for settlement between the fellow and their host institution(s) and the relevant authorities of the State as applicable.
- The Council reserves the right to request documentary evidence, as part of eligibility checking, after the call deadline. Where information provided by the applicant in their application form is found to be incorrect or cannot be verified if requested, the Council reserves the right to withdraw the award.
- Acceptance of the award is subject to these Terms and Conditions and the Guide for Applicants which, in conjunction with the Letter of Offer and completed and signed Acceptance Form, constitute the basis on which the award is held.
- Fellowships are held subject to these Terms and Conditions. If any of these are breached by a fellow, the Council will suspend or terminate the fellowship and/or may require reimbursement of such payments as have already been made to the fellow.
- Fellows are required to adhere to the general principles and requirements of the ‘European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers’ as applicable to researchers.
Structure and value of fellowship awards
While the award is made to the individual fellow, the fellowship fund is administered through the appropriate office within the fellow’s home host organisation.
The value of the CAROLINE fellowship will be calculated using the principles of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships 2014–15 and will consist of the following components:
- Payment to the home host organisation for the fellow’s living allowance. This amount will be determined using the base rate of €55,800 per annum, which will be adjusted by the applicable country correction coefficient as specified by the European Commission for each year of the fellowship, depending on the country of the fellow’s residence in the given year.
- Payment to the home host organisation for the fellow’s mobility allowance in the amount of €7,200 per annum, for years 1 and 2 of the CAROLINE fellowships.
- Payment to the home host organisation for the fellow’s family allowance in the amount of €6,000 per annum, where applicable.
- Payment to the home host organisation for the fellow’s eligible direct research, training and networking costs to enable the fellow to carry out the fellowship, in the amount of €9,600 per annum. Eligible direct research, training and networking costs include essential research supplies such as small consumables; pay-as-you-go access to national research infrastructure; software and hardware critical for the research to be obtained in the first year of the award; archival research costs; books and journals; conference travel and participation; generic and/or specialist disciplinary skills training; and publishing and write-up costs. Only eligible vouched expenses necessary for implementation of the fellowship, incurred within the funding term and invoiced during the funding term will be funded. Membership costs, stipends for students, salary for research assistants or similar salary costs are not eligible direct research costs under the scheme.
- Contribution towards indirect research costs in the amount of €1,752 per annum to support the main partner organisation with costs associated with hosting the fellow, guiding, monitoring and documenting their training and development, and supporting good working conditions. For periods of time that the fellow spends with their home host institution, the contribution towards indirect research costs can be used, pro-rata, by the home host organisation, provided that the main partner organisation does not incur any fellowship-related indirect research costs during such periods of time.
- Health insurance for CAROLINE fellows not eligible for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or where fellows are outside of the scope of EHIC. Eligible fellows will liaise directly with the Council before the relevant arrangements are made.
- Paid maternity leave in line with Irish policy and the Council’s policy as outlined in Clause 10.
The maximum that can be spent in any year of a CAROLINE fellowship are the relevant annual allowances as specified in the offer letter, plus any unspent balance of eligible direct research support expenses carried over from the previous year of the fellowship if applicable. Apart from this, funds may not be carried forward from one year to the next.
Funding will be provided only for the implementation of the research project and the career training and development plan as presented in the application form. If any departures from this are intended or become apparent, the prior consent of the Council must be sought.
Expenses related to activities that occur outside the funding term are not eligible under the fellowship.
The fellowship will be subject to Irish Revenue Law.
Compliance with Irish laws and national regulations on taxation will be a matter for resolution between the fellow, the home host organisation and the Irish Revenue Commissioners.