Horizon 2020 – Excellent Science – ERC Grants

H2020

ERC funding schemes are open to excellent researchers of any nationality who wish to carry out their frontier research in the EU Member States or associated countries.

Background

The European Research Council’s grant programme consists of actions under Part I of the ‘Excellent Science’ pillar of Horizon 2020 , the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2014–2020.

Part I of the Excellent Science pillar relates to the specific objective ‘Strengthening Europe’s science base in frontier research’.

Objectives of Fund

The European Research Council (ERC) aims to provide attractive, long-term funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high gain and high risk research.

Research funded by the ERC is expected to lead to advances at the frontiers of knowledge and to set a clear and inspirational target for frontier research across Europe.

Value Notes

The indicative budget for the 2014 Call is €15 million.

Up to 100% of total eligible and approved direct costs, and flat-rate financing of indirect costs of a maximum of 25% of the total eligible direct costs, is available.

Grant levels vary as follows:

ERC Starting Grants

  • Up to a maximum of €1.5 million for a period of five years.
  • Additionally, up to €500,000 can be requested to cover:
    • Eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant.
    • Purchase of major equipment.
    • Access to large facilities.

Consolidator Grants

  • Up to a maximum of €2 million for a period of five years.
  • Additionally, up to €750,000 can be requested to cover:
    • Eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant.
    • Purchase of major equipment.
    • Access to large facilities.

Advanced Grants

  • Up to a maximum of €2.5 million for a period of five years.
  • Additionally, up to €1 million can be requested to cover:
    • Eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant.
    • Purchase of major equipment.
    • Access to large facilities.

Proof of Concept Grant

  • Up to a maximum of €150,000 for a period of 18 months.
  • The ERC expects that normally, proof of concept projects should be completed within 12 months.

Who Can Apply

Principal Investigators of any nationality may apply to carry out research in a host institution established in an EU Member State or Associated Country. Public or private institutions, including universities, research organisations and undertakings can host the Principal Investigator.

The researcher may be residing in any country in the world at the time of application, but the host institution must be in an EU Member state or Associated Country. The grant is awarded to the institution that engages and hosts the Principal Investigator.

In certain conditions team members may be based outside of the EU or an Associated Country.

The following specific eligibility criteria apply:

  • Starting Grant - The Principal Investigator should have been awarded his/her first PhD more than two years, and less than seven years prior to the Call for Proposals. Applicants are expected to have produced at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor.
  • Consolidator Grant – The Principal Investigator should have been awarded his/her first PhD more than seven, and less than twelve years prior to the Call for Proposals. Applicants are expected to have produced several important publications without the participation of their PhD supervisor.
  • Advanced Grant - applicants are expected to be active researchers and to have a track record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.
  • Proof of Concept Grant – All Principal Investigators in an ERC frontier research project, that is either ongoing or has ended less than 12 months before the publication date of a Call for Proposals, are eligible to apply.

Location

EU Member State or Associated Country

Terms and Conditions

  1. A Principal Investigator may submit only one proposal to the ERC for ERC frontier research grant calls made under the same Work Programme.
  2. A Principal Investigator whose proposal was evaluated as category C in the Starting, Consolidator or Advanced Grant calls for proposals under Work Programme 2013 may not submit a proposal to the Starting, Consolidator or Advanced Grant calls for proposals made under Work Programme 2014.
  3. A researcher may participate as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator in only one ERC frontier research project at any one time.
  4. A researcher participating as Principal Investigator in an ERC frontier research project may not submit a proposal for another ERC frontier research grant, unless the existing project ends no more than two years after the call deadline.
  5. A Principal Investigator who is a serving Panel Member for a 2014 ERC call or who served as a Panel Member for a 2012 ERC call may not apply to a 2014 ERC call for the same type of grant.
  6. A Principal Investigator whose proposal is evaluated as category C in the Starting, Consolidator or Advanced Grant calls for proposals under Work Programme 2014 may not submit a proposal to the Starting, Consolidator or Advanced Grant calls for proposals made under Work Programme 2015 and 2016.
  7. A Principal Investigator whose proposal is finally evaluated as category B in the Starting, Consolidator or Advanced Grant calls for proposals under Work Programme 2014 may not submit a proposal to the Starting, Consolidator or Advanced Grant calls for proposals made under Work Programme 2015.

Eligible Expenditure

Applications may be made in any field of research. Support is available for frontier research.

Proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields and applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches are particularly encouraged.

Applicant Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.

The following grants are available:

ERC Starting Grant – designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme.

Consolidator Grant – designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme.

Advanced Grant – designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are already established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements.

Proof of Concept Grant – funding for further work (ie activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC frontier research grant) to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects.

How To Apply

Deadlines are as follows:

  • Advanced Grant – 21 October 2014
  • Proof of Concept Grant – 1 October 2014

There will be no Call for Synergy Grants in 2014.

Frequency: Annual and biannual

Link to guidelines: http://erc.europa.eu/funding-and-grants

Useful information

Applications are made online through the Participants Portal. A Guide for Applicants is published for each Call for Proposals which describes in detail how the electronic forms should be completed.

Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grant proposals are submitted by the Principal Investigator who has scientific responsibility for the project, on behalf of the host institution. A single submission of the full proposal will be followed by a two-step evaluation. The evaluation will be conducted by high level peer review panels. Applicant Principal Investigators can request during the electronic proposal submission that up to three specific persons should not act as a peer reviewer in the evaluation of their proposal.

Proof of Concept Grant proposals are submitted by the Principal Investigator who has responsibility for the proposed activities, on behalf of the host institution which is the applicant legal entity. Proposals should provide detailed descriptions of the project, its objectives, planning, execution, and required resources.

Information taken from Grantfinder, Idox.

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