This study investigates the potential of European universities as hosts for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) grantees. Factors explaining both the probability of a university hosting an MSCA grantee and its extent are estimated using a zero-inflated negative binomial regression model. Results reveal that the probability of hosting MSCA grantees increases significantly with excellence (research performance), size and country group of the university. In addition, a deepening of excellence (citations), international orientation and the teaching burden (student-staff ratio) are significant predictors for the extent of grantees. Based on the estimates, the relative performance of a university is identified by use of a frontier production function. This reveals that some universities in the Northwest of Europe host more MSCA grantees than would have been expected given their attributes, and certain top universities host fewer. These results could be related to marketing and support activities that partially offset the importance of research performance or alternative models for financing.