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European Research Council (ERC) funding schemes are open to top researchers of any nationality or age who wish to carry out their frontier research in the 27 EU Member States or associated countries.

There are three ERC core funding schemes and two additional schemes.

 

Starting Grants 

Εurope currently offers insufficient opportunities for young investigators to develop independent careers and make the transition from working under a supervisor to being independent researchers in their own right. This structural problem leads to a dramatic waste of research talent in Europe. It also limits or delays the emergence of the next-generation of research leaders, who bring new ideas and energy, and it encourages highly talented researchers at an early stage of their career to seek advancement elsewhere.

ERC Starting Grants aim to support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. It will support the creation of excellent new research teams.

ERC Starting Grants in brief

  • For researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD (or equivalent degree) scientific track record showing great promise
  • An excellent research proposal
  • Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation (known as a Host Institution/HI) located in one of the EU Member State or Associated Countries 
  • Funding per grant: up to €1.5 million (in some circumstances up to €2 million)
  • Duration: up to 5 years
  • Evaluation criterion: scientific excellence
  • Calls for proposals: published once a year (Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014) 

For research talents with proven potential only

 

Applicants for the ERC Starting Grants - called Principal Investigators (PI) - must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of scientific maturity.

For example, it is normally expected that applicants will have produced independently at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor.

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate a promising track-record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications (as main author) in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals, or in the leading international peer-reviewed journals of their respective field.

They may also demonstrate a record of invited presentations in well-established international conferences, granted patents, awards, prizes etc.

 

Attractive long-term funding

Normally grants will be € 1.5 million for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). However, an additional € 0.5 million can be made available to cover eligible “start-up” costs for researchers moving from a third country to the EU or an associated country and/or the purchase of major equipment and/or access to large facilities.

An ERC grant can cover up to 100% of the total eligible direct costs of the research plus a contribution up to 20% of the total eligible costs towards indirect costs.

 

Commitment of the Host Institution

Applications for an ERC grant must be submitted by a single Principal Investigator (PI) in conjunction with and on behalf of their host institution, called the applicant legal entity.

Grants are awarded to the host institution with the explicit commitment that this institution offers appropriate conditions for the Principal Investigator independently to direct the research and manage its funding for the duration of the project.

Any type of legal entity, including universities, research centres and undertakings can host the PI and his/her team. Legally the host institution must be based in one of the EU Member States, or one of the associated countries.

The PI does not necessarily need to be working at the host institution at the time when the proposal is submitted. However, a mutual agreement and the host institution’s commitment on how the relationship will be established are necessary, should the proposal be successful.

See also 'Host Institution' for a map of all current ERC host institutions.

 

In the hands of distinguished peers

Proposals are evaluated by selected international peer reviewers evaluate proposals on the basis of scientific excellence as the sole criterion.

Peer reviewers are in charge of assessing and marking the proposals. Those who pass the quality threshold are ranked. Depending on the call budget available, a budgetary cut-off applies to the ranking list and only the highest ranked proposals are offered an ERC grant until the call's budget has been used.

See also 'Evaluation panels'  for more information.

 

Participation of team members and Publication of vacancies

ERC grants support projects carried out by an individual researcher ('Principal Investigator') who can employ researchers of any nationality as team members. It is also possible to have one or more team members located in a non-European country.

Vacancies for team members of an ERC project can be published by the Principal Investigator on the Euraxess-Jobs portal.

For questions

Applicants are invited to contact their National Contact Point or send their queries by using the contact form and selecting the appropriate category.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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Consolidator Grants 

ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support researchers at the stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme. The scheme will strengthen independent and excellent new individual research teams that have been recently created.

ERC Consolidator Grants in brief 

  • For researchers of any nationality with 7-12 years of experience since completion of PhD (or equivalent degree) scientific track record showing great promise
  • An excellent research proposal
  • Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation (known as a Host Institution/HI) located in one of the EU Member State or Associated Countries 
  • Funding per grant: up to €2 million (in some circumstances up to €2.75 million)
  • Duration: up to 5 years
  • Evaluation criterion: scientific excellence
  • Calls for proposals: published once a year (Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014) 

For research talents with proven potential only

Applicants for the ERC Starting Grants - called Principal Investigators (PI) - must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of scientific maturity.

For example, it is normally expected that applicants will have produced independently at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor.

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate a promising track-record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications (as main author) in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals, or in the leading international peer-reviewed journals of their respective field.

They may also demonstrate a record of invited presentations in well-established international conferences, granted patents, awards, prizes etc.

 

Attractive long-term funding

Normally grants will be € 2 million for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). However, an additional € 0.75 million can be made available to cover eligible “start-up” costs for researchers moving from a third country to the EU or an associated country and/or the purchase of major equipment and/or access to large facilities.

An ERC grant can cover up to 100% of the total eligible direct costs of the research plus a contribution up to 20% of the total eligible costs towards indirect costs.

 

Commitment of the Host Institution

Applications for an ERC grant must be submitted by a single Principal Investigator (PI) in conjunction with and on behalf of their host institution, called the applicant legal entity.

Grants are awarded to the host institution with the explicit commitment that this institution offers appropriate conditions for the Principal Investigator independently to direct the research and manage its funding for the duration of the project.

Any type of legal entity, including universities, research centres and undertakings can host the PI and his/her team. Legally the host institution must be based in one of the EU Member States, or one of the associated countries.

The PI does not necessarily need to be working at the host institution at the time when the proposal is submitted. However, a mutual agreement and the host institution’s commitment on how the relationship will be established are necessary, should the proposal be successful.

See also 'Host Institution' for a map of all current ERC host institutions.

 

In the hands of distinguished peers

Proposals are evaluated by selected international peer reviewers evaluate proposals on the basis of scientific excellence as the sole criterion.

Peer reviewers are in charge of assessing and marking the proposals. Those who pass the quality threshold are ranked. Depending on the call budget available, a budgetary cut-off applies to the ranking list and only the highest ranked proposals are offered an ERC grant until the call's budget has been used.

See also 'Evaluation panels'.

 

Participation of team members and Publication of vacancies

ERC grants support projects carried out by an individual researcher ('Principal Investigator') who can employ researchers of any nationality as team members. It is also possible to have one or more team members located in a non-European country.

Vacancies for team members of an ERC project can be published by the Principal Investigator on the Euraxess-Jobs portal.

For questions

Applicants are invited to contact their National Contact Point or send their queries by using the contact form and selecting the appropriate category.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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Advanced Grants

ERC Advanced Grants allow exceptional established research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects that open new directions in their respective research fields or other domains.

The ERC Advanced Grant funding targets researchers who have already established themselves as independent research leaders in their own right.

ERC Advanced Grants in brief

  • Research field: any field of science, engineering and scholarship
  • Researchers: any nationality, any age. Applicants must be scientifically independent and have a recent research track-record and profile which identifies them as leaders in their respective field(s) of research
    • Evaluation Criterion: scientific excellence
      • Host Institution: Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation (known as a Host Institution/HI) located in one of the EU Member State or Associated Countries 
  • Funding per grant: up to €2.5 million (in some circumstances up to €3.5 million)
  • Duration: up to 5 years
  • Calls for proposals: published once a year (Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014) 

 

Projects being highly ambitious, pioneering and unconventional

Research proposed for funding to the ERC should aim high, both with regards to the ambition of the envisaged scientific achievements as well as to the creativity and originality of proposed approaches.

Proposals should rise to pioneering and far-reaching challenges at the frontiers of the field(s) addressed. They should involve new, ground-breaking or unconventional methodologies, whose risky outlook is justified by the possibility of a major breakthrough with an impact beyond a specific research domain/discipline.

For exceptional research leaders only

Applicants for the ERC Advanced Grants - called Principal Investigators (PI) - are expected to be active researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.

The Principal Investigators should be exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions. No specific eligibility criteria with respect to the academic requirements are foreseen.

Attractive long-term funding

Advanced grants will be up to € 2.5 million for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). However, an additional € 1.0 million can be made available to cover eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving from a third country to the EU or an associated country or the purchase of major equipment.

An ERC grant can cover up to 100% of the total eligible direct costs of the research plus a contribution up to 20% of the total eligible costs towards indirect costs.

The relevant terms and conditions for funding are described in the ERC grant agreemen. It essentially consists of an ‘ERC core grant agreement’ between the ERC and the host institution, and a ‘Supplementary agreement’ between the Principal Investigator and the host institution.

In the hands of distinguished peers

Proposals are evaluated by selected international peer reviewers evaluate proposals on the basis of scientific excellence as the sole criterion.

Peer reviewers are in charge of assessing and marking the proposals. Those who pass the quality threshold are ranked. Depending on the call budget available, a budgetary cut-off applies to the ranking list and only the highest ranked proposals are offered an ERC grant until the call's budget has been used.

See also Evaluation panels for more information.

Participation of team members and Publication of vacancies

ERC grants support projects carried out by an individual researcher ('Principal Investigator') who can employ researchers of any nationality as team members. It is also possible to have one or more team members located in a non-European country.

Vacancies for team members of an ERC project can be published by the Principal Investigator on the Euraxess-Jobs porta

For questions

Applicants are invited to contact their National Contact Point or send their queries by using the contact form and selecting the appropriate category.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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Synergy Grants

For 2012 the ERC has introduced the 'Synergy Grant', which is intended to enable a small group of Principal Investigators and their teams to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources in new ways, in order to jointly address research problems.

ERC Synergy Grants in brief

  • Research proposal: pioneering frontier research in any field of science, engineering or scholarship
  • Groups applying for the ERC Synergy Grant must be made up of a minimum of two and a maximum of four Principal Investigators (PIs) and, as necessary, their teams
  • One of the PIs acts as the 'Corresponding PI' with the ERCEA on behalf of the group
  • No specific eligibility criteria are foreseen for PIs applying for the ERC Synergy Grants, but only exceptional proposals are likely to be funded in what are expected to be extremely competitive calls
  • It is expected that in most cases ERC Synergy Groups will be interdisciplinary, often using multidisciplinary approaches. However this is not a requirement and colleagues from the same or similar disciplines bringing together complementary approaches, expertise and resources can apply
  • Similarly Synergy Groups are not required to be co-located but the PIs in the group will have to demonstrate their commitment to the group project including willingness to spend significant 'core time' together at the same physical location
  • The Host Institution that engages the Corresponding Principal Investigator for the duration of the grant should be a legally recognised public or private research organisation situated in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries 
  • Funding: up to a maximum of €15 million for a period up to 6 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration)
  • Calls for proposals: published annually with one deadline (Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014) 

Aim

The aim is to promote substantial advances in the frontier of knowledge, and to encourage new productive lines of enquiry and new methods and techniques, including unconventional approaches and investigations at the interface between established disciplines.

The peer review evaluation will therefore look for proposals that demonstrate the synergies, complementarities and added value that could lead to breakthroughs that would not be possible by the individual Principal Investigators working alone.

Attractive long-term funding

Depending on the specific project and field, ERC Synergy Grants can be up to a maximum of €15 million for a period of up to six years (covering up to 100% of the direct project costs and a contribution corresponding to 20% of the direct costs towards indirect costs).

How will proposals be assessed?

Scientific excellence, being the sole criterion to assess and select proposals, will apply to the evaluation of both the Principal Investigators and their research project.

A single submission of an ERC Synergy Grant proposal will be followed by a two-step peer review evaluation. However, the evaluation process differs from the ERC Advanced and Starting Grants and also includes interviews.

The ERC Synergy Grant uses a panel-based system, similar to the ERC Starting and Advanced Grants. In step 1, the evaluation is conducted by five high level peer review panels of approximately 10 experts each, while in step 2, a single panel of around 15 experts will continue the proposals evaluation. In step 1, the panels are supported in the individual assessment of proposals by independent experts as necessary.

The names of the Peer Reviewers will be published by the ERC Scientific Council after the conclusion of the evaluation process.

For questions

Applicants are invited to contact their National Contact Point or send their queries by using the contact form and selecting the appropriate category.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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Proof of Concept

 

The ERC launched the new funding initiative, called "Proof of Concept", in March 2011, open to researchers who have already been awarded an ERC grant.

ERC grant holders can apply for this additional funding to establish the innovation potential of ideas arising from their ERC-funded frontier research projects.

ERC Proof of Concept in brief

  • All Principal Investigators benefitting from an ERC Advanced or Starting Grant that is either ongoing, or where the project has ended less than 12 months before the publication date of an ERC Proof of Concept call. The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the link between the idea and the related ERC-funded project
  • Funding per grant: up to € 150.000
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Calls for proposals: published once a year with two deadlines (Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014)

Bridging the gap between research and a marketable innovation

The type of high-risk/high-gain research at the frontiers of knowledge that the ERC promotes often generates unexpected or new opportunities for commercial and societal applications. The ERC is committed to ensure the full exploitation of the excellent, useful ideas it funds. The Proof of Concept funding helps ERC grant-holders bridge the gap between their research and the earliest stage of a marketable innovation.

For ERC grant holders only

The ERC Proof of Concept funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.

The activities to be funded draw substantially on the outputs of ERC-supported research, but they are not aimed at extending the original research.
This funding aims at supporting grant-holders during the pre-demonstration phase to prepare a "package" to be presented to venture capitalists or companies that might invest in the new technology and take it through the early commercialisation phase.

The funding can be used to:

  • Establish viability, technical issues and overall direction
  • Clarify intellectual property rights position and strategy
  • Provide feedback for budgeting and other forms of commercial discussion
  • Provide connections to later stage funding
  • Cover initial expenses for establishing a company

The contribution under an ERC Proof of Concept call will be in the form of Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs). It may be used for conducting further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the ERC Starting and Advanced Grants) to make evident to the market the innovation potential of an ERC-funded idea, securing thereof potential commercialisation opportunities.

How will proposals be assessed?

The Proof of Concept projects to be funded will have arisen from scientifically excellent ERC-funded research that has already been subject to rigorous peer review.

The grant will be evaluated on the basis of three evaluation criteria.

1. Innovation potential: Proposals will have to demonstrate that the proposed Proof of Concept activity could greatly help move the output of research towards the initial steps of pre-commercialisation.

2. Quality of the Proof of Concept plan: The proposed Proof of Concept is based on a sound approach for establishing technical and commercial feasibility of the project.

3. Budget: The requested budget shall be necessary for the implementation of the proposed Proof of Concept and properly justified.

For questions

Applicants are invited to contact their National Contact Point or send their queries by using the contact form and selecting the appropriate category.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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Apply for Funding

In this section you will find all you need to know to apply for a grant from the European Research Council (ERC). ERC grants are open to researchers of any nationality in the world, any scientific field, any age.

Step by Step

ERC grant applications can be submitted only in response to a 'Call for Proposals'. Calls for the ERC funding schemes are published on the ERC website, the Participants Portal and in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Fach call covers one specific funding scheme.

In the ERC, there are three types of calls:

  • Starting Grant call
  • Consolidator Grant call
  • Advanced Grant call

In addition, ERC grant holders can also apply for additional funding through a Coordination and Support Action called:

Proof of Concept call

Once the Call is published on the Participant Portal, official documents are available, providing decisive information (deadlines, budget, etc.).

Check out these three steps:

Before the call is published

Are you interested in applying for a call? Before the call is published on the Participants Portal check out the following points:

  • Find out which ERC grant and which call is made for you
  • Identify in which host institution you would like to do your research project and with whom
  • Get in touch with the National Contact Point (NCP) of your country. They will support you during the whole submission process.

Once the call is open

Once the call you are interested in is published on the Participants Portal, check out these following points:

  • Read carefully the Guide for Applicants (see under documents)
  • Contact your future host institution and gather all the concrete details on your future journey there
  • Start writing your proposal early enough to submit it to external opinions. Your NCP might be able to do some "pre-screening" of your application and gives you a helpful feedback
  • Make yourself familiar with EPSS, the Electronic Proposal Submission Service. Proposals must be submitted electronically, via EPSS. Do not wait until the last minute to get familiar with EPSS! Once you have submitted your project, you can still modify it until the deadline by submitting a new version which will overwrite the old one.
  • Do not miss the call deadline for submission! Call deadlines are absolutely firm and are strictly enforced!

After the call for submission deadline

Now that you have submitted your proposal in time, what will happen next?

  • You will get an "acknowledgement of receipt" by e-mail, confirming that your proposal has been successfully submitted
  • The ERC will first check whether your proposal meets the eligibility criteria that apply to the call
  • External experts will then evaluate all the proposals
  • About 4-5 months after the call deadline, you will receive from the ERC a letter giving you "initial information" on the evaluation of your proposal

To be kept informed on the evaluation process of your proposal you can have a look at the timeframe of the ongoing calls.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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Call for Proposals

ERC grant applications can only be submitted in response to a Call for Proposals.

The ERC has yearly calls for proposals covering all scientific fields. 

For an ERC grant application to be complete, it needs to include the administrative forms, the research proposal and the supplementary documents. The completed proposal should be submitted by the specified closing date.

OPEN CALLS*

ERC Synergy Grant
Deadline: 10 Jan 2013 (17:00:00 Brussels local time)
Identifier: ERC-2013-SyG
Publication date: 10 Oct 2012

ERC Coordination and Support Actions 
Deadline: 16 Jan 2013 (17:00:00 Brussels local time)
Identifier: ERC-2013-Support-1
Publication date: 2 Oct 2012

ERC Consolidator Grant
Deadline: 21 Feb 2013 (17:00:00 Brussels local time)
Identifier: ERC-2013-CoG
Publication date: 7 Nov 2012

* Please note that the official deadlines are only those indicated on the Participant Portal.

Application process:
You can apply for these calls online through EPSS, the Electronic Proposal Submission Service
More detailed information is given on the Participant Portal.

ONGOING EVALUATIONS

Here below you can find the approximate planning of the feedback to applicants after each step for the ongoing calls.

Please note that not all results go out at the same time. If you have not heard from the ERC within the indicated timeframe, you are invited to check this website for an update.

Also note that the timeframes are preliminary and could be subject to minor changes.

CLOSED CALLS

Here you can find the overview of all closed ERC calls.

FUTURE CALLS

The publication dates and deadlines for all upcoming calls are as follows:

ERC Proof of Concept
Deadline: 24 Apr 2013 and 3 Oct 2013
Identifier: ERC-2013-PoC
Publication date: 10 Jan 2013

Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014

For further information: Please check regularly the ERC homepage and the Participants' Portal.

Host Institutions

 

The host institutions have already hosted at least one ERC grant holder. In no circumstances the list can be regarded as exhaustive.

(πηγή: Εuropean Commission)

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