ERC Presentation 13-11-2013

Report
European Research Council (ERC)
Edward Ricketts
University of Edinburgh
13 November 2013
[email protected]
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
The European Union’s funding instrument for research and innovation from
2014-2020
• Budget of EUR 70,2 billion
• From research to innovation – from basic research to bringing ideas to
the market
• Focus on societal challenges EU society is facing (e.g. health, clean
energy, food security, integrated transport)
• Concentration of resources on areas of high growth and innovation
potential
• Provides key measures to support industrial leadership, particularly
innovative SMEs
• Significant investment in excellence
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Horizon 2020 overarching priority:
Exiting the economic crisis through sustainable growth
Excellent
Science
Industrial
Leadership
Societal
Challenges
Health and Wellbeing
European Research
Council (ERC)
Future and Emerging
Technologies (FET)
Leadership in Enabling
and Industrial
Technologies (LEIT) ICT, KETs, Space
Food security
Transport
Energy
Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Actions (MSCA)
Climate action
Access to Risk Finance
Research Infrastructures
Societies
Security
Innovation in SMEs
Widening Participation; Science with and for Society
European Institute of Innovation
and Technology (EIT)
EURATOM
Joint Research Centre (JRC)
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Total budget 30% of Horizon 2020

Overall objective: “to strengthen the excellence of
European research”
• New research and ideas are drivers of competition
• Attract and retain high potential individuals
• Fund the most talented and creative researchers
• Develop and maintain world-class research infrastructures
European
Research
Council
Research
Infrastructures
Marie
SklodowskaCurie Actions
Future and
Emerging
Technologies
“The ERC shall provide attractive and flexible
funding to enable talented and creative individual
researchers and their teams to pursue the most
promising avenues at the frontier of science…..
scientific excellence shall be the sole criterion on
which ERC grants are awarded. The ERC shall
operate on a ‘bottom-up’ basis without
predetermined priorities”.
Horizon 2020 proposal text
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The ERC seeks to fund the best ‘frontier research’ proposals
submitted by excellent researchers in the area of their choice
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Will fund projects led by a Principal Investigator, if necessary
supported by a research team (no requirement for collaboration
or forming consortia across different EU countries)
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25 panels in 3 domains which proposals can be submitted to:
 Physical Sciences and Engineering (PE)
 Life Sciences (LS)
 Social Sciences and Humanities (SH)
Total ERC budget: €11.6bn
Starting Grants
2-7 years post-PhD
Up to €2m for 5 years
Consolidator Grants
7–12 years post-PhD
Up to €2.75m for 5 years
Advanced Grants
Leading researchers
Up to €3.5m for 5 years
Synergy Grants
2 – 4 PIs
Up to €15m for 6 years
Proof of Concept
ERC grant holders
€150k for up to 18 months
ERC Advanced
Senior
Professor
ERC Consolidators
ERC Starters
Full Professor
Junior Professor/
Junior Researcher
Associate Professor
Marie Curie
Erasmus
Post-docs
Post
Graduates
Students
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Scientific excellence is the sole evaluation criterion
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Significant funding is provided to attract exceptional research
leaders
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Grants are awarded to the host institution that engages and
hosts the Principal Investigator – the PI will be employed by
the host institution
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The host institution guarantees the PI’s independence and
provides the research environment to carry out the project
and manage its funding
• Aim to support excellent researchers at the stage of starting or
consolidating their own independent research team or
programme
• Eligibility windows for PIs (same as for 2013 calls):
• Starting Grants: 2 to 7 years after the PhD award
• Consolidator Grants: 7 to 12 years after the PhD award
• This is measured from the publication date of the call, and
extensions are permitted only in a few strict cases (parental
leave, long-term illness, etc)
Starting Grants and Consolidator Grants
• The ERC panel will evaluate the PI’s “intellectual capacity, creativity and
commitment”. This includes:
• ability to propose and conduct ground-breaking research and achievements
going beyond the state-of-the-art
• abundant evidence of creative independent thinking
• the ERC grant would contribute significantly to the establishment and/or
further consolidation of the PI's independence
• commitment to the project (minimum 50% of the PI’s total working time)
* please note that this is the wording from the 2013 ERC calls
Starting Grants
Who is a competitive candidate?
Must be able to show potential for excellence and evidence of maturity:
• expectation for at least one important publication without the participation
of the PhD supervisor
• promising track record of early achievements appropriate to field and
career stage, including:
• significant publications (as main author) in major international peerreviewed journals
• and/or monographs
• invited presentations, granted patents, awards, prizes etc
• good leadership potential and must convince the ERC panel that the PI
will be able to lead an ambitious ‘frontier research’ project
Consolidator Grants
Who is a competitive candidate?
Must be able to show potential for excellence and evidence of maturity:
• it is expected that applicants will have produced several important
publications without the participation of their PhD supervisor
• promising track record of early achievements appropriate to field and
career stage, including:
• significant publications (as main author) in major international peerreviewed major scientific journals
• and/or monographs
• invited presentations, granted patents, awards, prizes etc
• good leadership potential and must convince the ERC panel that you will
be able to lead an ambitious ‘frontier research’ project
• Aims to support excellent, leading researchers to pursue
groundbreaking research which opens up new directions in the
field of their choice
• Aims to “encourage substantial advances at the frontier of
knowledge; as well as new productive lines of enquiry, methods
and techniques”
• No eligibility requirement concerning a PhD, but the PI must
have an excellent track record of research achievements during
the last 10 years
Advanced Grants
• The ERC panel will evaluate the PI’s “intellectual capacity, creativity and
commitment” and their track record should be characterised by:
• groundbreaking research & achievements going beyond the state-of-the-art
• abundant evidence of creative independent thinking
• sound leadership in the training and advancement of young scientists
• commitment to the project (minimum 30% of the PI’s total working time)
* please note that this is the wording from the 2013 ERC calls
Advanced Grants
Who is a competitive candidate?
• track record of significant achievements in last 10 years:
•
10 publications (as senior author) in major international journals
•
or 3 major research monographs
• if appropriate to the research field, also:
•
granted patents
•
invited presentations
•
led expeditions
•
organised international conferences
•
international recognition (awards, prizes)
•
contributions to launching the careers of outstanding researchers
• an “exceptional leader in terms of originality and significance of research
contribution, with international recognition”
* please note that this the wording from the 2013 ERC calls
• Pilot scheme which funds ambitious, groundbreaking proposals
submitted by a group of between 2 to 4 PIs (and their teams)
• Very low success rate for first call in 2012, and the 2013 call
results expected to be announced in late 2013
• No call is expected to be launched in 2014 /15 ……
• But the scheme could continue within Horizon 2020, as a limited
part of the ERC’s portfolio of schemes (tbc)
• Scheme for ERC grant holders to undertake further work to
establish the innovation potential of an idea developed during
the course of an ERC-funded project
• Maximum grant: €150,000
• Project duration: up to 18 months
• Original ERC grant must be either ongoing or have ended less
than 1 year before the publication date of the call

Applications submitted online through the Research
Participant Portal
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Apply to discipline-specific panel
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Applications are in three parts
• Part A: Admin forms
• Part B1: Information on applicant and extended synopsis (5
pages) of proposal
• Part B2: Detailed proposal (15 pages)
Life Sciences
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
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LS1:Molecular and Structural
Biology and Biochemistry
LS2: Genetics, Genomics,
Bioinformatics and Systems
Biology
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 Non-Medical
Biotechnology
Physical Sciences and
Engineering
Social Sciences and
Humanities
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
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 Process
Engineering
PE9: Universe Sciences
PE10: Earth System Science
•
•
•
•
•
SH1: Individuals, institutions
and markets
SH2: Institutions, values,
beliefs and behaviours
SH3: Environment, space
and population
SH4: The human mind and
its complexity
SH5: Cultures and cultural
production
SH6: The study of the
human past
Proposals evaluated solely on the basis of excellence (excellence of
the PI and of the research project), and should address:
B1 Extended Synopsis (5 pages)
B2 Scientific Proposal (15 pages)
•
•
•
•
To what extent does the proposed research address important challenges?
To what extent are the objectives ambitious and beyond the state of the art?
How much is the proposed research high risk/high gain?
To what extent is the outlined scientific approach feasible?
• To what extent is the proposed research methodology appropriate to achieve
the goals of the project?
• To what extent does the proposal involve developing novel methodology?
• To what extent are the proposed timescales and resources necessary and
properly justified?
* please note that this is the wording from the 2013 ERC calls

Evaluation on excellence of PI and excellence of project

One stage application, two stage peer review evaluation

First stage evaluation looks only at Part B1

StG and CoG feature an interview at second stage
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See here for lists of panel members for previous ERC calls:
http://erc.europa.eu/evaluation-panels
Step 1 evaluation applicants notified:
• A: sufficient quality to pass to step 2 of the evaluation
• B: high quality but not sufficient to pass to step 2
• C: not sufficient quality to pass to step 2 of the evaluation
Step 2 evaluation applicants notified:
• A: fully meets the ERC’s excellence criterion and is
recommended for funding if sufficient funds are available
• B. meets some but not all elements of the ERC’s excellence
criterion and will not be funded.
Projects funded in ranking order – not all “A” projects funded
• Single beneficiary nature of projects
• Innovative/unconventional/invention/new/emerging research
• High risk/high gain
•
•
•
•
•
•
No nationality or mobility requirements
Pursuit of questions at or beyond the frontiers of knowledge
Any field of research (except nuclear)
Interdisciplinary proposals encouraged
Grants portable
Max grant amounts/ max length of project / min PI time

A change in balance of funding between schemes:
• Indicative budgets for 2014:
 Starting Grants €485m (22% increase compared to 2013)
 Consolidator Grants €713m (36% increase compared to 2013)
 Advanced Grants €450m (32% decrease compared to 2013)

Overhead rate 25% not 20%
• Note that maximum grant levels have not changed.

Open access to be the norm: “the terms and conditions laid down in
the ERC Model Grant Agreement will address how scientific publications
must be made available through open access”

Different resubmission rules
• Applicants scoring A at step 1 = will be able to resubmit to the
next year’s call
• Applicants scoring B at step 1 = will not be able to resubmit to
the next year’s call
• Applicants scoring C at step 1 = will not be able to resubmit to
the next two years’ calls
• Takes effect from 2015. Existing rule applies for 2014.
Starting Grants:
opens 11 December 2013, deadline 25 March 2014
Consolidator Grants:
opens 11 December 2013, deadline 20 May 2014
Advanced Grants: opens 17 June 2014, deadline 21 October 2014
Synergy Grants: no call launched in 2014
Proof of Concept: opens 11 December 2013, two deadlines on 1 April and
1 October 2014

ERC allocated around €12.7 billion for Horizon 2020 (compares to the
allocation of €7.5 billion for FP7). Highest amount of funding to go to the
Starting Grants and Consolidator Grants schemes.

But due to the progressive increases in the annual ERC budget until 2013,
the amount allocated for the 2014 calls will in fact be lower than in 2013:
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
• UK was the most successful country in applying to the ERC in FP7:
Over 800 grants based
in around 75 different
UK institutions
Around 15% success
rate for proposals
submitted by UK
institutions (about 11%
average overall)
Around 20% of all ERC
grants based in the UK
6 of the 11 Synergy
Grants projects funded
in 2012 feature at least
one UK-based PI
• See here for examples of funded projects: http://erc.europa.eu/ercfunded-projects
Sign up to the UKRO portal and you will receive:
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Updates on content of programme
Information on call dates and management/financial
issues
Proposal writing workshops from January 2014 onwards
ERC website contains information on previous calls, guides
to applicants, Q&A and details of evaluation panels for
previous years’ calls http://erc.europa.eu


Questions?
ERC National Contact Point helpdesk
• Email: [email protected]
• Tel: +32 2289 6121
Contact
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +32 2 286 9056

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