DCs means Doctoral Candidates. DCs shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organization, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. Part-time research experience will be counted pro-rata.

No, only doctoral candidates, not already in possession of a doctoral degree, are eligible to participate in all MSCA-DN modalities. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible. Therefore, they cannot be recruited in NextBase.

Yes. It is possible to apply for a PhD position in up to three sites, indicating an order of preference. The best candidates will be offered one of the required PhD they applied for, taking in account the preference order expressed.

NextBase is a doctoral research programme and therefore DCs shall be appointed for the maximum 36-month period.

In an MSCA-DN, secondment means a research training period spent by a fellow at the premises of a

different beneficiary, an associated partner or an associated partner linked to a beneficiary included in the

list of participants. The premises of the beneficiaries / associated partners / associated partners linked to a beneficiary must be independent from each other and therefore the secondment must involve physical mobility of the fellow. 


During their secondment, researchers receive supervision and training at the premises of the receiving beneficiary, associated partner or associated partners linked to a beneficiary. Secondments should be differentiated from short visits, i.e. of a few days.

Yes, secondments within the same country are permitted. However, please remember that the international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary dimension is an important part of Horizon MSCA-DN; Therefore, international secondments are strongly recommended.

No. However, in cases when a doctoral degree is awarded after 3 years or even after the end of the

project, the European Research Executive (REA) may check if the doctoral research and training programme was completed.

No, in MSCA-DN the doctoral candidates can be appointed for a maximum duration of 36 months (full time equivalent); this applies to all MSCA-DN, including Industrial Doctorates (IDs) and Joint Doctorates (JDs). In those countries where the duration of PhD study is formally 4 years, additional funding from other sources may be ensured by the participant in order to support the 4th year of doctoral studies.

As a rule, in an MSCA-DN project the doctoral candidate must be recruited under a full-time employment contract. Part-time employment must be agreed in advance with the REA and may be accepted:

• subject to prior approval by the Agency;
• on personal or family grounds only, and not for professional reasons.

Date of recruitment means the first day of employment of the doctoral candidate for the purposes of the action (i.e. the starting date indicated in the employment contract/equivalent direct contract).

The REA may, however, exceptionally accept a different date, if it is linked to the recruitment and is justified (e.g. by differences in the employment procedure in the country of recruitment).

Beneficiaries are solely responsible for verifying the eligibility rules and ensuring that sufficient evidence of the applicant’s eligibility is maintained for a potential check or audit.

The mobility rules stipulates that DCs must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

Family is defined as persons linked to the doctoral candidate by (i) marriage, or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognized by the legislation of the country or region where this relationship was formalized; or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher (children for which the researcher is under a legal obligation under national law to support them).


If the recruited DC has or acquires family obligations during the action duration, i.e. persons linked to him/her by (i) marriage, or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the legislation of the country or region where this relationship was formalised; or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher, the family allowance must be paid to him/her as well.