What is ERC?

The European Research Council
The European Research Council and Slovak participation
Pavel Exner
ERC Vicepresident
© Art & Build Architect / Montois Partners / credits: S. Brison
ERC Basics
What is ERC?
 Scientific governance: independent Scientific Council
with 22 members including the ERC President; full
authority over funding strategy
 Support by the ERC Executive Agency (autonomous)
 Quality as the only criterion
The ERC supports excellence in frontier research through
a bottom-up, individual-based, pan-European competition
 Support for the individual scientist – no networks!
 Global peer-review
 No predetermined topics
 Support in all fields of science and the humanities
What is ERC?
The European Commission
Provides financing
Guarantees autonomy of the ERC
Assures ERC’s integrity and accountability
Adopts annual work programmes
The ERC Scientific Council
22 members who are active researchers in their communities
Appointed by the Commission
Establishes overall scientific strategy
Controls quality of operations and management
Ensures communication with the scientific community
The ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA)
Executes annual work programme
Implements calls for proposals
Organises peer review evaluation
Establishes and manages grant agreements with Host Institution
Administers scientific and financial aspects
Carries out communications activities
ERC in Horizon 2020
ERC annual budget
H2020 budget € 77 billion
ERC budget € 13 billion
ERC in the H2020 structure
 The HORIZON 2020 main components:
Excellent Science
 World class science is foundation of technologies, jobs, well-being
 Europe needs to develop, attract, retain research talent
 Researchers need access to the best infrastructures
Industrial leadership
Societal challenges
 Excellent Science:
European Research Council
Future and Emerging Technologies
Marie Sklodoswka Curie Actions
Research Infrastructures
ERC Grant Schemes
Starting Grants
Consolidator Grants
(2-7 years after PhD)
up to € 2.0 Mio
for 5 years
(7-12 years after PhD)
up to € 2.75 Mio
for 5 years
Advanced Grants
track-record of
significant research
achievements in the
last 10 years
up to € 3.5 Mio
for 5 years
bridging gap between research - earliest
stage of marketable innovation
up to €150,000 for ERC grant holders
Creative freedom of the individual grantee
ERC offers independence, recognition & visibility
• to work on a research topic of own choice, with a team of own choice
• to gain true financial autonomy for 5 years
• to negotiate with the host institution the best conditions of work
• to attract top team members (EU and non-EU) and collaborators
• to move with the grant to any place in Europe if necessary (portability
of grants)
• to attract additional funding and gain recognition; ERC is a quality
Excellence is the sole evaluation criterion
Evaluation of excellence at two levels:
• Excellence of the Research Project
Ground breaking nature
Potential impact
Scientific Approach
Added-value of the Group (only SyG)
• Excellence of the Principal Investigator
 Intellectual capacity
 Creativity
 Commitment
Referees and panels evaluate and score each criterion, which results
in a ranking of the proposals.
25 Panels for All Areas of Science
10 panels
9 panels
Fundamental Constituents of Matter
Condensed Matter Physics
Physical and Analytical Chemical Sciences
Synthetic Chemistry and Materials
Computer Science and Informatics
Systems and Communication Engineering
Products and Processes Engineering
Universe Sciences
Earth System Science
Social Sciences & Humanities
6 panels
Markets, Individuals and Institutions
The Social World, Diversity, Institutions
and Values
Environment, Space and Population
The Human Mind and Its Complexity
Cultures and Cultural Production
The Study of the Human Past
Molecular and Structural Biology and Biochemistry
Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Cellular and Developmental Biology
Physiology, Pathophysiology and Endocrinology
Neurosciences and Neural Disorders
Immunity and Infection
Diagnostic Tools, Therapies and Public Health
Evolutionary, Population and Environmental Biology
Applied Life Sciences and Non-Medical Biotechnology
ERC Panel Members by Country of HI and Gender
ERC calls 2007 - 2013
Averaged over the first 13
ERC calls 26% of the ERC
panel members were women
* Number of instances that experts of a certain country of origin are contributing to the ERC peer review │ 11
ERC Achievements
│ 12
After 7 Years of Existence…
A Success Story
 Highly recognised by the research community
 Over 4 300 top researchers funded (60% are at an early-career stage);
63 nationalities represented
 Highly competitive (average success rate 12%)
 Working in almost 600 different institutions in 30 countries
 50% of grantees in 50 institutions : “Excellence attracts excellence”
 Benchmarking effect: impact on national programmes and agencies;
national funding for best "runners-up"
 Efficient and fast grant management
ERC Delivers
 30 000 publications acknowledging ERC support by
September 2014
 7% of these publications were in the top 1% most
cited in their scientific field and year of publication
 20% of completed LS and PE projects reported at
least one patent (on average 2 patents reported per
│ 14
2014 Distinctions to ERC Grantees
f3.jpg (300×358)
The Nobel Prize in Economic
Sciences 2014 was awarded to
Jean Tirole "for his analysis
of market power and
Artur Avila
Jean Tirole
Two of the Fields Medals
2014 awarded to researchers
based in Europe: Artur Avila
"for his work in dynamical
systems” and to Martin
Hairer “for his work on
stochastic singularities”.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine 2014
was awarded to May-Britt Moser and Edvard
Moser, together with John O'Keefe,
"for their discoveries of cells that
constitute a positioning system in the
Hairer.jpg (310×233)
The research leading to these discoveries*
was supported by FP5. "Spatial Representation in
the Entorhinal Cortex”
Martin Hairer
│ 15
Priority to Young Scientists
Two-thirds of ERC
grants to early-stage
│ 16
Developing a New Generation of Excellent Scientists
Analysis of 995 ERC projects
2/3 of staff are
people in the
training phase
of their career
│ 17
ERC Grantees with a non-ERA Nationality*
ERC calls 2007-2013
TOTAL number of grantees with non-ERA nationality :
209 StG/CoG and 102 AdG
*) nationality as last declared by the principal investigator
Data as of 21/08/2014
Attracting Excellent Researchers
Composition of ERC teams (PIs not included)
Analysis of 995 Starting and Advanced Grants
EU: 67%
Assoc. Countries: 12%
non-ERA: 18%
unknown: 3%
53% of non-ERA team members ''attracted'' to Europe
with the ERC grant (10% of all team members)
Most non-ERA from
China, US, India,
and Russia
│ 19
Slovakia at ERC
│ 20
Evaluated Proposals from Host institutions in Slovakia
Ineligible and withdrawn proposals not taken into account
│ 21
Results of evaluated projects - Slovakia
Total AdG proposals: 23
Total StG/CoG proposals: 43
│ 22
ERC Grant in Slovakia
ERC Starting Grant 2012 - M€ 1.2
Institute of Chemistry - Slovak Academy of Sciences
Electrochemical LEctin and glycan biochips integrated with NAnostructures
The project focuses on glycans, sugar molecules produced by the cell that are rich in
information related to its physiology.
Some pathogens - for example bacteria or viruses - produce glycans that mimic those of
the host cell in order to avoid detection. Due to the complex nature of glycans, their global
study (glycomics) has been slower to develop than the genomics and proteomics fields.
Dr. Tkáč aims to develop nanotechnology to measure glycans in natural conditions, via
biochips. This technology will be used to search for novel glycan biomarkers of diseases
and to develop new, potent and nature-based vaccines and drugs.
* current host institution; data as of 21/08/2014
│ 23
Mobility of Researchers
ERC Starting and Consolidator Grant calls 2007-2013
ERC Advanced Grant calls 2008-2013
45 Slovak researchers applied with a HI
abroad (in 13 different countries)
1 Slovak researcher holds an ERC grant
abroad in Austria
Current host institutions; data as of 21/08/2014
│ 24
Success Rates per Country of Host Institution
ERC calls 2007-2013
*) First legal signatories of the first grant agreement taken into account
Success Rates versus Applications
│ 26
ERC Grant Distribution to Countries of HI
ERC calls 2007-2013
*) Host institution refers to the organisation with which the first grant agreement was signed│ 27
ERC Grants versus Global R&D Effort
│ 28
EU13 Countries at ERC
│ 29
ERC Grants Based in EU13 Countries
88% of grantees in
EU13 countries are
nationals of the host
(70% for EU15)
85% of grantees in
EU13 countries
were resident in the
host country at the
time of application
(90% for EU15)
│ 30
Success Rates by Area of HI
Share of
EU13 public
researchers in
Share of
(GERD) in
│ 31
Evaluation Outcome
Success rate step1 EU13: 7%
Success rate step1 EU15: 22%
Success rate step2 EU13: 43%
Success rate step2 EU15: 47%
│ 32
Top HIs in EU13 Countries
Current host institutions; data as of 21/08/2014
│ 33
Participation of EU13 Nationals in ERC Calls
55% of EU13
nationals are
based with the
grant abroad
Current host institutions; data as of 21/08/2014
│ 34
Success Rate of EU13 Nationals in ERC Calls
│ 35
Composition of ERC Teams
Over 6600 team
members in the sample
EU nationals: 67%
Assoc. Countries: 12%
non-ERA: 18%
unknown: 3%
9% of the team
members from EU
countries are EU13
28% of EU13 staff =
PhD Students
40% of EU13 staff =
│ 36
ERC Scientific Council
Working Groups & Standing Committees
Gender balance
Innovation and
relations with
Open Access
Committee on
(Conflict of Interest &
Research integrity)
ERC Scientific Council Standing Committee
on Conflict of interest & Research integrity
│ 38
ERC Scientific Council Standing Committee on
Conflict of interest & Research integrity
Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (Chair)
Prof. Pavel Exner (Chair - delegated)
Prof. Carl-Henrik Heldin
Prof. Nicholas Canny
Prof. Isabelle Vernos
Prof. Nuria Sebastiàn Gallés
Prof. Sierd Cloetingh
Formulate guidelines on conflict
of interest, fraud and ethical
matters related to any facet of the
ERC's competences, clarifying
criteria and considering any
particular instance or situation
where ethical concerns may arise
 important consultative role in cases
of scientific misconduct within ERC
 promote culture of research integrity
 ERC Strategy on Scientific
Misconduct (October 2012)
│ 39
5 October 2012:
The ERC Scientific Council adopts a
Scientific Misconduct Strategy
Host Institutions have primary
responsibility for detection of scientific
misconduct, investigation and adjudication
ERC Recommendation: all
ERC HIs will have structures in
place to uphold scientific
integrity, deal with all cases
coming to ERC attention, report
to the ERC on actions taken
│ 40
Notwithstanding the above…..
ERC will address all issues of alleged
scientific misconduct concerning an
ERC applicant or project
Through its Executive Agency (ERCEA), the
ERC will take appropriate follow–up actions,
whenever there is sufficient evidence that
scientific misconduct has taken place
│ 41
Role of CoIME in relation to
scientific misconduct
COIME has an important advisory/
consultative role; works in close
collaboration with ERCEA Director;
can consult external experts
ERCEA Director takes decisions after
having received COIME’s opinion, using
his own discretion or judgment
│ 42
A strict policy on Conflict of Interest
Code of Conduct of ERC peer reviewers
• Strict obligations of impartiality
• A conflict of interest (CoI) can result in:
 the exclusion from the evaluation of the entire
call (“out of the call” rule);
 or in the exclusion from the panel discussion on
the proposal in question ( “out of the room” rule)
• Strict obligations of confidentiality
│ 43
Examples of measures and
actions by ERCEA Director
│ 44
Funding Opportunities
│ 45
ERC Work Programme 2015
 Publication date of first calls planned for Autumn 2014.
 Three ERC frontier research grants will be available under Work
Programme 2015: Starting; Consolidator; and Advanced Grants.
 The Scientific Council will analyse the pilot phase of the ERC Synergy Grant
(calls were made under Work Programmes 2012 and 2013) before deciding on
future calls. No Synergy call under Work Programme 2015.
 Restrictions on applications will apply to the 2015 calls based on the
outcome of the evaluation of the 2014 calls (same in Work Programme 2014).
 Removal of indicative domain budgets. Panel budgets now allocated purely by
 ERC Principal Investigators will continue to be able to apply for Proof of
Concept Grants (now with three deadlines).
 Overhead rate: 25%
│ 46
ERC Calls 2015
ERC calls
Call Publication
Starting Grants
410 M€
605 M€
630 M€
DL1: February 2015
DL2: May 2015
DL3: October 2015
Advanced Grants
Proof of Concept
19 M€
│ 47
More information on
To subscribe to ERC newsletter and newsalerts
Follow us on
Ďakujem za pozornosť !
│ 49
Additional slides if needed
│ 50
ERC Competitions
Data as of 21/08/2014│ 51
at least 30
by Funding
StG/CoG 2007-2013
AdG 2008-2013
First legal
of the grant
Data as of 21/08/2014
Frontier Research and Innovation:
ERC Proof of Concept
 Initiated to help ERC grant-holder to bridge the gap
between their research and the earliest stage of a
marketable innovation
 Supporting grant-holders during the pre-demonstration
 Up to 150.000 Euro per grant
151 143 292 182
 One step evaluation
* withdrawn and ineligible proposals not taken into account
 Calls in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (each with 2 deadlines)
 Fourth call in 2014 (deadlines 1 April and 1 October)
PoC Grants by Country of Host Institution
ERC PoC calls 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014-1: 228 grants
ERC Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grant calls 2007-2013: 4354 grants
│ 54
Speeding up the Discovery Process:
ERC Synergy Grant
 2012 and 2013 work programme on a pilot basis
 2 – 4 Principal Investigators; complementary skills,
knowledge & resources; to jointly address frontier research
 Up to €15m for up to six years
 Based on ERC principles (no consortia, no networks):
• bottom-up and risk-taking
• driven by scientific demand
• PIs expected to spend significant “core time” together
• only one Host Institution, but groups not required to be
physically located in the same place
 710 submissions to the first SyG Call; 1.6% success rate
 449 submissions to the second SyG Call; 3% success rate
SYNERGY 2012 and 2013
Successful Host Institutions
│ 56

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