Grantcraft support packs are now available on the Research Office portal (login required) for applicants to the 2012 round of European Research Council Starting Independent Researcher Grant (ERC Starting Grants.)
The fifth call for proposals for the ERC Starting Grants, targeted at early-career top researchers opened on the 20th July 2011 with deadlines between October-November this year:
Physical Sciences and Engineering: 12 October 2011
Life Sciences: 9 November 2011
Social Sciences and Humanities: 24 November 2011
Set up in 2007, the aim of the ERC is to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by supporting the very best, creative researchers. The ERC funds both top senior scientists (ERC Advanced Grants) and younger, early-career research leaders (ERC Starting Grants). The ERC operates according to a “bottom- up” approach with no thematic priorities. The scheme is open to all fields of research, including Social Sciences and Humanities, with scientific excellence as the only selection criterion in the ERC’s peer reviewed grant competitions.
The ERC Starting Grant scheme helps filling Europe’s funding deficit for the best up-and coming researchers and enables them to get early scientific and professional independence.
With up to €2 million per grant for up to five years, the scheme targets researchers having between two to twelve years of post-doctoral experience. The only selection criterion is scientific excellence. To date, 1 300 scientists have been awarded Starting Grants, including some coming from outside Europe. ERC grants are indeed one of the main EU instruments to address the “brain drain” and to attract and retain the best researchers of any nationality. Proposals have to be submitted via a Host Institution (university, public or private research centre), based in one of the 27 EU Members State or one of the 13 countries associated to the seventh EU Framework Programme for Research. The selection of proposals is performed by highly recognised international peer review panels, including scientists from all over the world. Last year, the success rate of Starting Grants proposals was around 15%.
The total budget for this call amounts to €730 million, an increase of just over 10% from last year’s call. The 2012 call is expected to fund between 500 to 600 talented researchers.
The Starting Grant call is part of the ERC’s funding opportunities for 2012 which totals €1.6 billion. The fourth Advanced Grant call with a budget of €680 million for senior top researchers is expected to be launched in November 2011.
Other schemes comprising the ERC’s 2012 funding mechanisms include:
- The new ERC Synergy scheme, to be launched on a pilot basis to fund 10 to 15 exceptional projects. Gathering complementary skills, knowledge and resources, it will support small groups of researchers working jointly on a project. For this initiative a limited part of the ERC budget, €150 million, will be used. (call publication in October 2011)
- The recently introduced small-scale Proof of Concept scheme (totally €10 million), open to ERC grantees (call publication in February 2012, in addition to the currently ongoing call with a 8 November deadline)