MCAA Micro grants

Presentation and Objectives of the MCAA Micro Grants

The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) provides financial support to members with the aim to contribute to their career development as well as to promote and facilitate their participation in the activities of the MCAA and the promotion of the Marie Curie community. To this end, it supports the participation of members in external and MCAA events by providing financial assistance (known as microgrants, MGs).

The MCAA is currently reviewing its MG’s policy and rules, with the aim of better targeting member’s needs, improving the impact of MCAA’s support to the career development of its members, and making the application and evaluation procedures simpler and more transparent.

The new policy and MG rules to support career development activities will be available in 2024. However, until the new policy is in place the MCAA is opening a bridge call for MGs, using a simplified and provisional set of rules.

Note:

  • - The Micro General Assembly Grant (MGAG) call to attend the 2025 MCAA Annual Conference and General Assembly will be open at a later date.
  • - For Chairs of Chapters and Working Groups, or other members having been commissioned by the board to represent the MCAA in internal or external meetings, please refer to the Chapter/WG Activity Plan via internal process.

Micro Grants (MG) - Rules and Procedures

Content:

  1. 1. Goals and scope of MGs
    • - Amount of MGs and eligible costs
  2. 2. Eligibility of applicants and applications
  3. 3. MGs — From application to reimbursement
    • - Summary of steps
    • - How to apply
    • - Validation, selection, and confirmation of applications
    • - Participation in events/activities - Acknowledgement requirement
    • - Reimbursement procedures and rules
    • - What happens if applicants cannot use the awarded MG?

1. Goals and scope of MGs

MGs aim to support the career development of members, facilitating their attendance to events and training courses, either onsite or online. MGs can be used to attend specific types of events though:

Covered by MGsNOT covered by MGs
- Onsite and online workshops, conferences, symposiums, etc.;

- Onsite and online training courses.
- Research/teaching visits;

- Events or meetings organised by the applicant’s employer (or potential employer);

- Meetings organised by the project or consortiums the applicant works for (or intends to work for);

- Events funded by the European Commission.

Amount of MGs and eligible costs:

Members can apply for MGs up to a maximum of € 1.000 per year. However, the amount awarded will depend on various factors including the budget available for MGs, the number of applicants per month, the relevance of the activities for the career development of beneficiaries, the overall costs of the activity, etc. In no case the MCAA will reimburse travel, accommodation and fees costs beyond € 1.000/year in the context of this MG Call. 

Only specific expenses are eligible to be reimbursed (please ensure to carefully read the section “Reimbursement procedure and rules” below, including the list of supporting documents that need to be submitted): 

Eligible expensesNOT eligible expenses
- Economy travel tickets (plane, train, bus, ferry, short distance public transport; bike rental);

- Accommodation (hotel, AirBnb, etc.) (*);

- Visa proceeding fees(**).
- Cancellation costs / Any cost incurred by beneficiaries that did NOT attend the event for which they received the grant (***);

- Travel by car;

- Travel and health insurance;

- Subsistence costs (meals, etc.);

- Purchase of goods or services for personal use (e.g. telephone SIM card, cables, stationery products, pharmacy products, etc.);

- Attendance to cultural or sports shows;

- Any other costs not related to the participation in the event and that were not previously authorised.

(*) Reimbursement for accommodation only covers the days of the event, plus the night before the start of the event. Evaluation of the application will take into consideration the expected cost per night, hence presented estimates should be reasonable.

(**) Visa proceeding fees will be reimbursed as long as they are specifically requested to attend the event for which the beneficiary got the grant. Cost of visa applications for a different destination will not be reimbursed.

(***) Beneficiaries of MGs are strongly recommended to get travel insurance on their own so as to be reimbursed for travel and accommodation costs in case the travel or event is cancelled and the MG can’t be claimed. The cost of travel insurance is not an eligible cost for reimbursement.

2. Eligibility of applicants and applications

To be entitled to apply and get a MG, applicants must:

  • - Be a member of the MCAA;
  • - Have completed at least 90% of their online profile in the MCAA portal and have it updated by the time of the application (*);
  • - Use the MGs for their own benefit and not for someone else’s (e.g. teammates, students, etc.);
  • - Apply for activities having a clear relevance for the career development of applicants;
  • - Apply for activities taking place at least 45 days after the date of application and not later than 31 August 2024.
  • - Have a bank account in a country that is not affected by restrictive measures imposed by the European Union (Cuba, Iran, Korea Dem. People’s Rep, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Russia) affecting the transfer of money. Please note that, currently MCAA can not reimburse any legal entities in Hungary due to the restriction imposed as part of Horizon Europe.

(*) To update the profile, members can click on their name on top of the screen (they must be logged-in). Then click on the Action button on the right, and then click on “Edit”.

Furthermore, there are three additional rules:

  • - Current MSCA fellows having an MSCA with a specific budget line for events and meetings are only eligible in exceptional cases, for which a reasonable justification needs to be provided;
  • - A member can only be awarded up to two MGs within a period of twelve months (MGAGs and MITGs are excluded), counting from the date of submission of the first application for a subsequently approved MG. In case a member is awarded more than one MG, the total amount awarded for the 2 MG shall not exceed € 1.000;
  • - Grants cannot be attributed retrospectively, and therefore applicants cannot apply for an MG to attend an event that already took place.

3. MGs — From application to reimbursement

Summary of steps

Submission of applications and evaluation:

Eligible ActivitiesSchedule
Submission of MG applications.At least 45 days before the activity and not later than 31 August 2024.
Validation and evaluation of applications.Will take place during the first 15 days of each month. Only applications received until the last day of the precedent month are evaluated each month.
Communication of results to applicants.Applicants are informed by email about the results of their applications within the first two weeks of the month that follows the application.
Awardees’ confirmation of the acceptance of MGs.Awardees must confirm the acceptance of the MG within 14 days.
Earmarking of funds and publication of results.Only upon reception of the awardee’s confirmation, the amount of the MG is earmarked. The list of awardees, the events attended and the reports may be made public at the MCAA website, MCAA publications, or elsewhere.

Reimbursement

Awardee’s participation to the event.Should the awardees not be able to attend the event/activity for which they got the MG, they must inform the MCAA as soon as possible, so as to be able to allocate those funds to other applicants (see more details below). Travel, accommodation and fees costs of activities/events NOT attended, will NOT be reimbursed.
Submission of MG reimbursement form.Awardees must submit the reimbursement form and all supporting documents within 20 days following the end of the event/activity for which they got the MG (for details on the reimbursement procedures and supporting documents, see below).
Validation of reimbursement documents & PaymentShould all supporting documents be correct, payments are transferred within 20 to 30 days upon reception of the complete reimbursement form.

How to apply

To apply for receiving a MG, interested members must:

  • - Fill up the online application form;
  • - Submit the application at least 45 days ahead of the start of the event (this bridge MG cannot be used for events taking place after 31 August 2024. For events taking place after that day, a new MG will be available in 2024).

Important note: The application per se does not give applicants the right to receive any or part of the funds requested. Applicants who depend on the financial support of the MG to attend an event/activity are strongly advised not to make any expenditures related to that event/activity before being informed of the results of their applications. The MCAA is not responsible for (and hence will not reimburse for) any expenses incurred by applicants before the joint concurrence of the following: (a) the evaluation process has been finalized, (b) the MCAA has communicated the results to applicants, and (c) the awarded applicants have confirmed the acceptance of the MGs. Likewise, the MCAA will not reimburse members for any travel, accommodation, or fees costs incurred if the event/activity is not attended (whatever the reasons).

Validation and evaluation of applications, and awarding of MGs

The validation and evaluation of applications, and the communication of results to applicants can take up to 6 weeks, depending on the day of the month applications are submitted.

For each round of MGs, the MCAA will define the number of applications that can be awarded based on the budget available for MGs.

The validation and evaluation of applications comprises 3 steps, all taking place during the first 10 days of the month that follows the month when the application was submitted:

  • - Verification of eligibility of applicants and applications
  • - Evaluation of applications
  • - Validation by the Executive Committee

Applicants will be then informed on the results of their applications.

Applicants who were awarded with a MG will have to confirm within the following 14 days that they accept the MG and the amount awarded. If no confirmation is received by day 10, the MCAA will send a reminder for an urgent confirmation. If the applicant still does not reply, the application will be cancelled, and the funds will be allocated to another applicant. The applicants will be contacted at the main email registered in their MCAA profile, therefore it is important to keep it up to date.

Participation in events/activities - Acknowledgement requirement

Awardees of a MG must acknowledge the support of the MCAA in their communication activities related to the event (e.g. presentations, social media, etc.).

For presentations, members must use the formula “With the support of the Marie Curie Alumni Association, through the MCAA-New-Horizon Project.”

For SocialMedia, use the #MCAAMG hashtag and tag @Mariecurie_alum (Twitter)

Reimbursement procedure and rules

In order to be reimbursed for the expenses covered by the MG, members must:

  • - Fill up the reimbursement form (link will be provided to awardees)
  • - Event Report (Link to be provided after the event takes place)
  • - Provide all supporting documents (see details in the table below).

Payments of expenses will be made by the MCAA within 20 to 30 days from the date of reception of all documents required, and bank details. Proof of payment will be sent by e-mail to the Awardee as soon as it is made.

Eligible costs:

CategorySupporting documents to submit
Travel costs
(when applicable)
- Booking confirmation / Invoice (the price must be indicated) (not required when the travel date AND the price are indicated in the travel tickets)

- Boarding passes / travel tickets
Accommodation
(when applicable)
Accommodation invoice (hotel, AirBnb, etc.)
Registration fees
(when applicable)
Registration invoice or formal confirmation of payment
Participation to event/activity
(mandatory)
- Certification or institutional declaration of attendance at the event (*)

- A news item, not more than 500 words, and two pictures, describing the event attended and how it contributed to the grantee’s career development

(*) Self-declarations will not be accepted. Members must submit a declaration from the organisers of the event/activity.

The following reimbursement rules apply:

  • - Reimbursement can only be paid after the end of the activity/event for which members got the MG, and after verifying that they attended the activity/event. An attendance certificate needs to be provided to process the reimbursement. Members must submit the reimbursement form (including scanned copies of all supporting documents) up to 20 days following the end of the activity/event for which they got the MG.
  • - Members are not required to submit the original (paper) receipts/invoices by the time they submit the reimbursement form. However, members are obliged to keep them for a period of at least five (5) years, as the MCAA and/or the European Commission may, at any occasion, ask for them for auditing purposes. If the member does not wish to keep the originals for such a period of time, they can send them to the MCAA: Avenue des Arts 24, 1000 Brussels.
  • - The reimbursement will be calculated based on real costs, that is the sum of all eligible receipts/documents presented at the time of the reimbursement submission, and taking into consideration the maximum amount established for the MG and agreed by the member. Expenses for which members have not submitted a supported document, will not be reimbursed.
  • - Members will not be reimbursed for any cost in the case they have not attended the event/activity for which they got the MG, whatever the reason is, including reasons which are beyond the control of the member (such as a visa denial or event cancellation).
  • - As members are not legal employees of the MCAA, but eventually contributing to the community on a volunteer basis, the MCAA will not pay any form of remuneration to members and provides no insurance cover for accidents that might happen while the member is travelling to and from an event. For these reasons, members are advised to ensure that they have adequate insurance (e.g. personal insurance, travel, insurance, cover by their current employer, cover through credit card purchase of tickets, etc.) that would cover any delays, cancellations or accidents.
  • - Any banking fees charged for money transfers, or for currency exchanges, or for any other similar reason, shall be deducted from the sum to be paid to the members who receive the MG. The MCAA will not check the validity of bank details for countries outside of the EU; thus, any bank fees resulting from failed transactions will be charged to the member.
  • - Due to restrictive measures imposed by the EU, it is not possible to transfer payments to several countries, including Cuba, Hungary, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, and Syria).
  • - Expenses done in a currency other than Euro will be converted into Euros using the office Commission exchange rate: https://commission.europa.eu/funding-tenders/procedures-guidelines-tenders/information-contractors-and-beneficiaries/exchange-rate-inforeuro_en

What happens if applicants cannot use the MG awarded?

The MCAA has a limited budget for MGs, which means that only part of the applicants can benefit from this financial support.

Since these are funds provided by the European Commission, the money that is not used by the end of the Grant Agreement that the MCAA has with the Commission will have to be returned by October 2024.

When the MCAA awards a MG, the amount of the MG is earmarked and is part of the accounting and of the planning of future cycles of MGs.

Hence, members who were awarded a MG but that for some reason cannot use it, must inform the MCAA about the situation ASAP before the date of the event/activity for which they got the MG, so the MCAA can free those funds and allocate the money to other applicants.

Awardees who fail to timely inform the MCAA about the impossibility of using the MG risk being penalised.

In case of any questions, please address the MCAA through contact@mariecuriealumni.eu.

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