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EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action: European Industrial Doctorate

An Innovative Training Network promoting industry-academia collaboration while pursuing a PhD
An Innovative Training Network promoting industry-academia collaboration while pursuing a PhD

The eLiQuiD project (Best Engineering Training in Electric, Lightweight and Quiet Driving) brought together early stage researchers and experienced specialists from key players in academia and industry across Europe covering Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH), LightWeight Design (LWD) and Electrification & Hybridisation (H/E) disciplines to form a broad range of backgrounds.

The eLiQuiD consortium was formed by three organizations, combining leading education and research institutions as well as an associated partner well established in European automotive R&D to assist in the dissemination and outreach of the eLiQuiD results. Thus the fellows participate in both the scientific research work and the practical application of new methods of testing and simulation and they profit from extended international knowledge after their academic education when starting to work in the industry.

eLiQuiD was funded by the EC as a Marie Curie European Industrial Doctorate under Grant Agreement 316422 in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and ran over a period of 4 years (October 2012 – September 2016). The project brought together KU Leuven as academic partner, Virtual Vehicle Research Center (ViF) as industrial research centre and the European Automotive Research Partners Association (EARPA) as associated partner and together hosted 4 researchers, drawing together skills and expertise in a range of different technical approaches. ViF and EARPA brought specific applications that embed generic difficulties associated with NVH of electrified vehicles, while KU Leuven brought a diverse range of innovative approaches and the capability of research training, provision of courses and dissemination to the wider community. Together the consortium developed and promoted research, knowledge and application of NVH analysis and design techniques within the EU industry.

The main scientific outcomes of the eLiQuiD project are collected in a book which is freely available for download here (

Process Main Stages: 

The process follows the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) workflow (further info here:


A project proposal is defined and developed in consultation with the partners. An EID must be composed of at least two independent beneficiaries established in two different member states or associated country. At least one beneficiary must come from the academic sector and at least one beneficiary from the non-academic sector, primarily enterprises (including SMEs). Additional beneficiaries and partner organisations can come from any sector (source: The partners must sign a mutual cooperation agreement. Evaluation of the project is based on the project proposal.


Candidates should be willing to pursue a PhD, should comply with the requirements of the doctoral school of the hosting university and additionally also with the MSCA requirements in terms of mobility and experience. Candidates have an interview with all partners and agree to spend a minimum of 18 month by the industrial partner, which is located in a different country than the university.


Early stage researchers carry on their research under the supervision of both university and industry. Several bilateral meetings and trainings are organized.


After 2 years progress (scientific, training, dissemination, financial) is reported to the Research Executive agency (REA).


At the end of the project the final progress (scientific, training, dissemination, financial) is reported to the Research Executive agency (REA).

Touchpoints & Bottlenecks: 


Several meetings are organized where all partners are present (university, industry, early stage researchers).


A few workshops and conference special sessions involve all partners.


The PhD committee involves all partners.


Benchmarking and reference to other similar initiatives: 

In comparison to standard MSCA ITNs, the EID format allows the Early Stage Researcher to be an employee of both the industrial partner and the university. This allows for a better insight on the different working philosophies and boosts the possibility of bilateral knowledge transfer. Furthermore, the supervision coming from both sides allows for a better collaboration between university and industry.

Success Factors / Barriers: 

The success depends on the ability of the researcher to bridge the knowledge among the partners.

Barriers involve the hiring process (it is not easy to find candidates willing to change country after 18 months) and the fact that pursuing a PhD may require longer than the MSCA grant, requiring additional funding.


The EC MSCA EID program supports a PhD researcher for industry relevant research. The program allows industry-academia collaboration by involving early stage researchers who switch between academia and industry (or vice-versa) throughout their PhD track.

  • Agree on intellectual property and data sharing
  • Have regular meetings with both supervisors from academia and industry to align visions and understand each other’s interest
  • Forget that the project is a PhD project, that may need 4 years or longer to be brought to the finish line