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Eligibility Criteria

INSPIRE will adhere to the COFUND principle of ‘individual-driven mobility’, meaning that applicants will have freedom to choose their research project within the wide interdisciplinary remit of the APC, their supervisor and secondment organisation.

Each fellowship will consist of three phases: an initial phase at the academic host; an intersectoral secondment period in the non-academic sector (may be international) and a final return phase at the academic host.


Applicant Eligibility

  • Applicants may be of any nationality.
  • Applicants must be experienced researchers (ER). The definition of an ER in the H2020 MSCA programme will be applied: ERs must, at the call deadline, be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience. FTE research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree that would entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country that the degree was obtained or the country in which the researcher is recruited, irrespective of whether a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.

International Mobility

  • Applicants must comply with the relevant mobility rules. At the call deadline, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Ireland for more than 12 months in the previous 3 years.

Project Eligibility

  • The applicant has the freedom to choose their own research project. However, it is important that the research aligns with the programme's research themes and the research interests of the academic supervisor. Before applying, the applicant must discuss their research idea and seek the support of an eligible supervisor. 
  • The research topic must be relevant to one of APC’s four core research areas and address a societal challenge in the spheres of health and/or food. 
  • The 4 research themes are 
    • Microbes to Molecules 
    • Diet and Microbes 
    • Gut-Brain Microbe Axis
    • Host-Microbe Dialogue
  • Refer to APC Themes overview and SDGs for information about APC four core research areas and SDGs.
  • Proposals must describe a research project to be implemented during a two-year period.
  •  Proposals must adhere to the ethical standards as stated in the programme documentation.
  • Proposals must include a secondment in the non-academic sector. 

Supervisor Eligibility


  • Before submitting an application, applicants must contact an eligible supervisor who shares an aligned research interest with the applicant's research topic to discuss the research idea and obtain support for the proposal.
  • Applications are not eligible without the support of an academic supervisor
  • Names and research interests of potential supervisors for can be found here. List of  Call 1 Supervisors.
  • Note: Supervisors who are open to support applicants for Call 2 will be confirmed at the Call date of 30th August 2023.

Secondment Eligibility

  • A secondment is mandatory for the fellow.
  • Eligible secondment hosts are non-academic organisations located anywhere in the world including Ireland.
  • The mandatory intersectoral secondment must be relevant to the fellow's research project and to his/her own career development.
  • Secondments must be a minimum of 3 months duration. Maximum duration is 6 months.
  • Secondments can be a single period or split into short stays. 
  • Secondments to multiple organisations are eligible provided they fit the developmental needs of the ER and the research (maintaining an overall maximum duration of 6 months).
  • The proposed academic supervisor will assist applicants to secure a high-quality secondment host and to ensure they are relevant and realistic.

Where it is not possible for applicants to confirm the secondment host at the application stage, the applicant must outline in their application the type of organisation that they could target, the intended duration and research objectives.

A letter of support from the secondment host will be required within 6 months from the fellowship start date. 

EU Funding

This project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska–Curie Grant agreement No. 101034270.


APC Microbiome Ireland, Biosciences Building, University College Cork, Ireland,