FP7 Specific Programme
The ERC’S Funding Strategy
• European Research Council (ERC) grants support individual researchers of
any nationality and age who wish to pursue their frontier research.
• The ERC encourages in particular proposals that cross disciplinary
boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields and
applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches.
• The European Research Council (ERC) is the first European funding body
designed to support investigator – driven frontier research through open
and direct competition.
• Its main aim is to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by supporting
and encouraging the very best, truly creative researchers to identify and
explore new opportunities and directions in any field or research.
• 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.
The ERC’S Funding Schemes
The ERC offers two types of long –term grants, both operating on a “bottom-up”
basis without predetermined research priorities:
– ERS Starting Independent Researcher Grants
(ERC Starting Grants)
The objective is to support the independent careers of outstanding researchers, who are at the stage
of establishing or consolidating their first research teams or programmes.
– ERC Advanced Investigator Grants
(ERC Advanced Grants)
The objective is to support pioneering frontier research projects by leading established
Two additional schemes have been launched in 2011.
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.
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 Starting Grants in brief
ERC Starting Grants aim to support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to
establish or consolidate 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 and will strengthen others that have been recently
ERC Advanced Grants in brief
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.
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
• 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
• 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
Apply for Funding- 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:
1.Find out which ERC grant and which call is made for you
2.Identify in which host institution you would like to do your
research project and with whom
3.Get in touch with the National Contact Point (NCP) of your
country. They will support you during the whole submission
Apply for Funding- Check out these three steps:
II. Once the call you are interested in is published on the
Participants Portal, check out these following points:
1.Read carefully the Guide for Applicants (see under documents)
2.Contact your future host institution and gather all the concrete details on your
future journey there
3.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
4.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.
5.Do not miss the call deadline for submission! Call deadlines are absolutely
firm and are strictly enforced!
Apply for Funding- Check out these three steps:
III. After the call for submission deadline
1.You will get an "acknowledgement of receipt" by email, confirming that your proposal has been
successfully submitted
2.The ERC will first check whether your proposal meets
the eligibility criteria that apply to the call
3.External experts will then evaluate all the proposals
4.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
ERC proposal submission procedure and
proposal description
Proposal Submission
Proposals are submitted by the Principal Investigator who has scientific responsibility for the project, on behalf of the
host institution which is the applicant legal entity.
Proposal submission is made electronically. Early registration and submission is strongly recommended and should be
done as early as possible in advance of the call deadline.
Proposal description
Part A of the electronic forms requests administrative information about the project and the Principal Investigator.
Part B requests the main proposal where the following elements are required:
Part B - Section 1
Scientific leadership potential: 1 page
Curriculum Vitae: 2 pages
Early achievements track-record: 2 pages
Extended Synopsis: 5 pages
Part B - Section 2
Scientific Proposal: 15 pages
Additional necessary elements of the proposal:
1. Host Institution Binding Statement of Support
2. Ethical Review table (incorporated in Section 2 of the proposal)
3. PhD record and supporting documentation for eligibility checking (for StG)
ERC grant applicants are evaluated on the basis of scientific excellence as sole
criterion, which is examined on two distinct aspects of the research proposal:
• the principal investigator;
• the research project.
To guarantee transparency, fairness and impartiality in the treatment of
proposals, grant applicants are selected following an international peer
review evaluation process based on 25 panels covering fields of science,
engineering and scholarship.
Panels structure
Physical Sciences & Engineering:
PE1 Mathematics
PE2 Fundamental constituents of matter
PE3 Condensed matter physics
PE4 Physical and analytical chemical sciences
PE5 Synthetic chemistry and materials
PE6 Computer science and informatics
PE7 Systems and communication engineering
PE8 Products and processes engineering
PE9 Universe sciences
PE10 Earth system science
Life Sciences:
LS1 Molecular and Structural Biology and Biochemistry
LS2 Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Systems
LS3 Cellular and Developmental Biology
LS4 Physiology, Pathophysiology and Endocrinology
LS5 Neurosciences and neural disorders
LS6 Immunity and infection
LS7 Diagnostic tools, therapies and public health
LS8 Evolutionary, population and environmental biology
LS9 Applied life sciences and biotechnology: agricultural,
animal, fishery, forestry and food sciences; biotechnology,
chemical biology, genetic engineering, synthetic biology,
industrial biosciences; environmental biotechnology and
Social Sciences & Humanities:
SH1 Individuals, institutions and markets: economics, finance and management
SH2 Institutions, values, beliefs and behavior
SH3 Environment, space and population: environmental studies, demography, social
geography, urban and regional studies
SH4 The Human Mind and its complexity
SH5 Cultures and cultural production
SH6 The study of the human past: archaeology, history and memory
Further Information:

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