The European Research Council What is ERC?

The European Research Council
Established by the European Commission
Achievements and Perspectives
Professor Jean-Pierre BOURGUIGNON
ERC President
© Art & Build Architect / Montois Partners / credits: S. Brison
Prague, 30 October 2014
What is ERC?
Established by the European Commission
The European Research Council
 An autonomous pan-European funding body led by scientists set
up by the EU in 2007 after a long struggle
 Mandate: to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through
competitive funding of frontier projects
 Funded through the EU Framework programmes for Research and
 For the period 2014-2020, Horizon 2020
What is ERC?
Established by the European Commission
A bottom-up, individual-based, pan-European competition
with host institution in the EU or in an Associated State.
 Support for projects lad by individual scientists
 International peer-review
 No predetermined subjects (bottom-up)
 Support of frontier research in all fields of science and
 Scientific governance by an independent 22-member
Scientific Council, which has full authority over funding and
 Support by the ERC Executive Agency (autonomous)
 Only criterion: quality of research aiming for excellence
What is ERC?
Established by the European Commission
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
The Importance of Basic Research
Established by the European Commission
Research and Innovation
 A linkage whose importance has grown in the last years because
of the role attributed to innovation in competitiveness
 Existence of a number of short circuits between some results
belonging to basic research that quickly triggered some new
economic activities
 This a priori non focused financing of research has been done
in the past, in the US notably by DARPA and DOE
 Presently, the best example is given by Korea, and the huge
investments made there in basic research, to address the lack of
tradition and under the pressure of its high-tech industry
anxious to make it for the next major round of innovation.
ERC Funding Schemes
Established by the European Commission
Starting Grants
Consolidator Grants
(2-7 years after PhD)
up to € 1.5 Mio
for 5 years
(7-12 years after PhD)
up to € 2.25 Mio
for 5 years
Advanced Grants
track-record of
significant research
achievements in the
last 10 years
up to € 3 Mio
for 5 years
bridging gap between research - earliest
stage of marketable innovation
up to €150,000 for ERC grant holders
Creative Freedom
Established by the European Commission
 ERC offers independence, recognition and visibility
 PI’s own choice of topic
 PI’s own choice of team
 5-year financial autonomy
 Grants are portable
 ERC has become a quality label
Quality, Sole Criterion of Evaluation
Established by the European Commission
Evaluation has two components:
 Quality of the Research Project
 Ground-breaking nature
 Potential impact
 Scientific approach
 Quality of the Principal Investigator
 Intellectual capacity
 Creativity
 Commitment
Referees and panels evaluate each component.
Evaluation of Proposals
Established by the European Commission
 The ERC Scientific Council is responsible for proposing
independent experts.
 Structure: 25 panels (6 in Social Sciences and Humanities,
10 in Physical Sciences and Engineering and 9 in Life
 What makes the ERC evaluation exceptional?
 Highly international participation in panels
 Full autonomy of panels to decide
 Panel members and chairs based in 49 countries: 26 EU
Member States, 7 Associated Countries, 16 outside Europe
 Remote referees based in 87 countries
Evaluation Panel Structure
Established by the European Commission
Social Sciences and Humanities
Life Sciences
LS1 Molecular & Structural Biology &
LS2 Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics &
Systems Biology
LS3 Cellular and Developmental Biology
LS4 Physiology, Pathophysiology &
LS5 Neurosciences & neural disorders
LS6 Immunity & infection
LS7 Diagnostic tools, therapies & public health
LS8 Evolutionary, population & environmental
LS9 Applied life sciences & biotechnology
SH1 Individuals, institutions & markets
SH2 The social world, diversity and common ground
SH3 Environment ,space and population
SH4 The Human Mind and its complexity
SH5 Cultures & cultural production
SH6 The study of the human past
Physical Sciences & Engineering
PE1 Mathematics
PE2 Fundamental constituents of matter
PE3 Condensed matter physics
PE4 Physical & Analytical Chemical sciences
PE5 Materials & Synthesis
PE6 Computer science & informatics
PE7 Systems & communication engineering
PE8 Products & process engineering
PE9 Universe sciences
PE10 Earth system science
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ERC after 7 Years
Established by the European Commission
 4 500 researchers funded (65% are at an early-career stage);
64 nationalities represented (EU has 28!)
 Highly competitive (average success rate tending to 10%)
 Grants located in almost 600 different institutions in 30 countries
 50% of grantees in 50 institutions
 Benchmarking effect: impact on national programmes and agencies;
national funding for best "runners-up"
 Efficient and fast grant management
 Highly recognized by the research community beyond Europe
 30,000 publications acknowledging ERC support by September 2014
│ 11
Priority to Young Scientists
Established by the European Commission
Two-thirds of ERC
grants to early-stage
│ 12
Developing a New Generation
Established by the European Commission
On average each
ERC project team
has six members.
2/3 of team
members are in the
initial phase of their
+ 15 000 PhD
and post-doc
working in
ERC teams.
│ 13
Attracting Excellent Researchers
Established by the European Commission
53% of non-ERA team
members ''attracted'' to
Europe with the ERC grant
(10% of all team members)
Composition of ERC
teams (PIs not
Analysis of 995
Starting and
Advanced Grants
EU: 67%
Assoc. Countries: 12%
non-ERA: 18%
unknown: 3%
│ 14
Success Rates per Country of HI
Established by the European Commission
*) First legal signatories of the first grant agreement taken into account
ERC Grants versus Top Publications
Established by the European Commission
*) Host institution refers to the organisation with which the first grant agreement was signed│ 16
ERC Grants versus Global R&D Effort
Established by the European Commission
│ 17
2014 Distinctions to ERC Grantees
Established by the European Commission
f3.jpg (300×358)
The Nobel Prize in Economic
Sciences 2014 was awarded to
Jean Tirole "for his analysis of
market power and regulation".
Artur Avila
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”.
Jean Tirole
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 brain”.
The research leading to these discoveries*
was supported by FP5. "Spatial
Representation in the Entorhinal Cortex”
Hairer.jpg (310×233)
Martin Hairer
│ 18
Horizon 2020
Established by the European Commission
Horizon 2020 is the European Union's funding programme for
research and innovation for 2014 – 2020 "supporting activities
covering the whole spectrum from idea to market".
 Three principal pillars:
Excellent science
Industrial leadership
Societal challenges
│ 19
Horizon 2020 Excellent Science Pillar
Established by the European Commission
European Research Council
Frontier research
Future and Emerging Technologies
Collaborative research to open new fields of research
and innovation
Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions
Opportunities for training and career development
Research Infrastructures (including e-infrastructures)
Ensuring access to world-class facilities
│ 20
Horizon 2020 Budget
Established by the European Commission
H2020 budget € 77 billion
ERC budget € 13 billion
FP7 budget € 50.5 billion
ERC budget € 7.5 billion
ERC Work Programme 2015
Established by the European Commission
 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.
 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 demand.
 ERC Principal Investigators will continue to be able to apply for
Proof of Concept Grants (now with three deadlines).
 Overhead rate: 25%
│ 22
ERC Calls 2015
Established by the European Commission
ERC calls
Starting Grants
Consolidator Grants
410 M€
605 M€
630 M€
DL1: February 2015
DL2: May 2015
DL3: October 2015
Advanced Grants
Proof of Concept
19 M€
│ 23
The European Research Council
Established by the European Commission
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│ 24

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