Innovative Training Networks (ITN)


The main objective of the Innovative Training Networks is to train a new generation of innovative, creative, entrepreneurial and passionate high-level Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs), increasing their background and experience in an interdisciplinary and multisectoral environment, to develop their transferable skills for future careers in academia or/and the private sector.

The majority of doctorates are carried out under a traditional model, in which the early-stage researchers have a supervision only with their thesis’ director, doing an individual job, with a very specialised training, but only in a specific research discipline. The Innovative Training Networks aim to improve the employability of researchers through their exposure to organisations in the academic and non-academic sectors, thereby broadening the traditional academic research training setting and eliminating cultural and other barriers to mobility.

in our words

Don't forget include in the Training Programme specific courses to build the capabilities of ESRs, thinking in their future; for example: literature review, reference management, online databases, first aids, security in laboratory, protocols of  residues, research methods, communicating science, ethics and integrity in research, responsible research and innovation, gendered research, team working, co-creation, design thinking, etc...

In the last Guide for Applicants (p.8) you can read: Institutions which are actively involved in research and (research) training (e.g. universities, public or private non-profit research institutes, large enterprises, SMEs, non-profit or charitable organisations, etc.) can propose a research training network and apply for funding. If selected they will cooperate to recruit researchers and provide them with opportunities to undertake research in the context of a joint research training or doctoral programme. These programmes should respond to well-identified multi- and inter-disciplinary needs in defined scientific or technological areas, expose the researcher to the academic and non-academic sectors, and offer a comprehensive set of transferable skills relevant for innovation and long-term employability (entrepreneurship, commercialisation of results, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), communication etc.). Proposals should reflect existing or planned research cooperation among the participating organisations in which the researchers will take part through individual, personalised research projects.

in our words

This is achieved with an original variety of network-wide-activities and a collective mobility plan, exposing the ESRs to different academic cultures, economic sectors and countries. ESRs need to improve their understanding of different working environments and their adaptability to different organisational contexts across Europe and beyond. Here non-EU partners organisations play a key role.

There are three types of Innovative Training Networks, each with different participation requirements:

European Training Networks (ETN): must be composed of at least three independent beneficiaries established in at least three different Member States (MS) or Associated Countries (AC). There is no pre-defined size, however, it is recommended to keep a size between 6 -10 beneficiaries. 

European Industrial Doctorates (EID): must be composed of at least two independent beneficiaries established in two different MS or AC. At least one beneficiary must come from the academic sector and at least one beneficiary from the non-academic sector, primarily enterprises (including SMEs).

European Joint Doctorates (EJD): must be composed of at least three independent beneficiaries from three different MS or AC. In order to reach the objectives of EJD, at least three beneficiaries must be entitled to award doctoral degrees, of which at least two institutions conferring a joint, double or multiple doctoral degree must be established in a MS or AC. There is no pre-defined size, however, it is recommended to keep a size between 4 - 8 beneficiaries. 

The Innovative Training Networks contribute to excellent research, boosting jobs, growth and investment by equipping researchers with the new knowledge, skills and international and intersectoral exposure to fill the top positions of tomorrow and solve current and future societal challenges.


The ITN proposals also significantly contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as evidenced by the H2020 interim evaluation (Commission Staff Working Document, Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020, Annex 2, p.158)

Participating Organisations

Can participate universities, research organisations, industry (including SMEs), government, civil society organisations (NGOs, trusts, foundations, etc.), some cultural institutions, museums, hospitals, international organisations (like the UN or WHO), etc.


Beneficiaries are legal entities that contribute directly to the implementation of the research training programme of the network by recruiting, supervising, hosting and training researchers. They may also provide secondment opportunities. Beneficiaries are signatories to the Grant Agreement, receive funding, claim costs, and take complete responsibility for the proper implementation of the proposed research training programme.

Regardless of their size, all beneficiaries must be able to physically host at their premises, provide all necessary infrastructure and equipment, and offer appropriate supervision to the recruited researchers. (Guide for Applicants H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019, p.13)

Of course, beneficiaries must be established in a Member State (MS) of the European Union (EU), including their overseas departments; or in an Associated Country (AC) which is party to an international agreement with the Union.

Partner organisations

Partner organisations complement the research training programme but do not recruit any researchers. They provide additional research and transferable skills training and/or secondment opportunities. They can also deliver the doctoral degree.


Partner organisations can be academic or non-academic organisations, located in any country. There is no pre-defined number of partner organisations; however, this number should be sound and related to the real needs of the project.

in our words

An ITN is based on the twin pillars of international scientific excellence and industrial and social relevance, by the other hand, it is important to structure an ITN that combines international research experiences with cross-disciplinary coursework and interweaves professional development and transferable skills, short courses and skills acquisition in inter- and transdisciplinary settings. Here partner organisations play a key role.

Both academic and non-academic organisations can take part in an ITN either as a beneficiary or as a partner organisation.


The duration of an ITN is limited to 48 months. Budget will be automatically calculated based on the number of recruited researchers and the length of their recruitment (minimum of 3 months and up to a maximum of 36 months) covering up to 100% of the eligible costs.


An example and explanations by category (not available on mobile phone device):

[4] Country correction coefficient

[6] Mobility Allowance

[7] Research, Training and Networking costs

[8] Management and Indirect costs



[1] Number ESR

[2] Person-months ESR length recruitment

[3] Living allowance

[5] Total funded Living allowance










72 (36x2)

Research Organisation_France





























[1] ESR number: total number of Early-Stage Researchers assigned by beneficiary. It is important to know that the ESR must, at the date of recruitment by the beneficiary, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. The most common is to hire ESR that have just obtained the university degree. Mobility Rule: ESR 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 (indepedent of her/his nationality) 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 take into account.

[2] Person-months ESR length recruitmentminimum of 3 months and up to a maximum of 36 months. Maximum of 540 person-months per ITN.

[3] Living allowance: [1] ESR number x [2] Person-months ESR length recruitment.This refers to the gross salary. What does it include? Monthly salary for the fellow before any deductions: contributions of both employers and employees to social security, pension, taxation, voluntary deductions, etc, following the national taxation rules of each country. The amount for an ESR is 3.270 € per month (39.240 € x year) This amount is then ajusted through the application of a country correction coefficient.

[4] Country correction: click here (because it is not the same, economically speaking, live in a country than in another)

[5] Total funded Living allowance: [3] Living allowance x [4] Country correction.

[6] Mobility allowance: All researchers recruited within an ITN are entitled to receive this allowance, the amount is 600 € per month. It contributes to the mobility related expenses of the researcher. Purpose? Contribution to household, relocation and personal travel expenses. Is the mobility allowance taxed? Usually, yes - but it depends on national taxation rules. Some institutes may offer to operate this as a 'virtual real cost' category in accordance with their administrative procedures. This means that fellows can submit receipts for rent, household bills, etc. which can be used to grant partial exception from tax (if allowed under national rules)

Family allowance: additional funding of 500 € per month will be received and will be paid to ESRs with family, regardless of whether the family will move with the researcher or not. In this context, family is defined as persons liked to the researcher by (i) marriage,  or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the national or relevant regional legislation of the country where this relationship was formalised; or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher.

[7] Research, Training and Networking costs: flat-rate amount of 1.800 € per implemented person-month. It should be conceived as a single bag that will be used throughout the 3 years. What is it used for? To contribute to expenses related to, for example: research costs, training courses, participation of researchers in training events and conferences, secondments (including travel and accommodation), coordination between participants, tuition fees (if applicable) Usually, the coordination retains a small share of the training costs of each beneficiary to pay expenses such as coffee-breaks, speakers' travel and accommodation (partner organisations involved), etc. The amount and the duly economic justification should be addressed in the consortium agreement. If finally the coordination does not use all the amount retained, the corresponding amount will be reimbursement to the beneficiaries.

[8] Management and Indirect costs: flat-rate amount of 1.200 € per implemented person-month. How much is for management and how much is for indirect costs? It is a decision of the consortium how best to use this contribution for the proper implementation of the ITN. How is it distributed between the beneficiaries? It is a decision of the consortium. Usually, the coordination retains the largest share of the management costs (different that indirect costs) expenses such as project manager salary, selection and recruitment of the ESR (for example: interviews' travel costs), kick-off meeting expenses, management meetings expenses, costs associated with the preparation of the reports and other documents required by the REA (researcher declarations, deliverables, 1st year progress report, periodic and final report), etc. The amount and the duly economic justification should be addressed in the consortium agreement. If finally the coordination does not use all the amount retained, the corresponding amount will be reimbursement to the beneficiaries.

In the context of the consortium's composition, applicants should take into account that for all ITN (except for EID with only two beneficiaries), no more than 40.0% of the total EU financial contribution may be allocated to beneficiaries in the same country.

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