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ERC – European Research Council Grants

ERC grants are designed to support outstanding researchers under several schemes according to the phase of their carrier development (ERC Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants, ERC Synergy Grants and ERC Proof of Concept Grants).

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General information

ERC is part of the European Union’s research and innovation framework programme
(formerly Horizon 2020, currently Horizon Europe).

Research funded by the ERC is expected to lead to advances at the frontiers of knowledge and to set a clear and inspirational target for frontier research across Europe. The grants support excellent Principal investigators (PIs) and their research teams. The PI must demonstrate ground-breaking nature of his/her ERC project proposal, it must not be a mere continuation of previous achievements. The ERC research grants operate on a "bottom-up" basis without predetermined priorities.

Excellence of the proposed research and of the PI are the only evaluation criteria. Generally, quality and ground-breaking nature of the research project are more important – outstanding research proposal by a PI with reasonably good CV should have better chances of being funded than reasonably good research proposal by a PI with outstanding CV.

ERC grants provide long-term funding that is simple and flexible in its procedures. Once awarded, the PIs are given a lot of liberty in managing their projects as well as the budget – so that they can pursue “high-risk, high-gain” research.

Current ERC Work Programme: ERC Work Programme 2021.
We highly recommend reading the current ERC Work Programme to potential ERC applicants as well as to anyone interested in ERC. The work programme contains binding information about ERC calls and describes the “spirit” of ERC funding and respective types of grants. It is concise, well-structured and it is easy to identify the relevant parts.


See also: Faculty‘s ERC contact pointsERC pipelineERC grant preparation 


Please, follow the funding opportunities news (in Czech or in English) for up-to-date deadlines.


Types of ERC grants

ERC Starting Grants (ERC StG)

  • Grants for PIs 2-7 years after PhD who are starting their own independent research team or programme.
  • ERC StG may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 000 for a period of 5 years (and additional contribution up to EUR 1 000 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover e.g. purchase of major equipment, access to large facilities or major field work costs).
  • A competitive ERC StG applicant should have produced at least one important publication as main author or without the participation of their PhD supervisor and be able to demonstrate a promising track record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications as main author, invited presentations in well-established international conferences etc. (see the current Work Programme for details). It is crucial for the PI to demonstrate his/her potential for research independence.
  • Deadline for ERC StG is usually in mid-October. 
    The 2-7 years eligibility criteria is calculated towards 1 January of the year in the call title. The time elapsed since the PhD award can be reduced e.g. by time spent on parental leave (for details, see the “Eligibility criteria” part of current Work Programme).
    The ERC 2021 StG deadline is, unusually, 8 April 2021 (indicative).

ERC Consolidator Grants (ERC CoG)

  • Grants for PIs 7-12 years after PhD who already have a “core” of their own independent research team or programme, but still need to consolidate it.
  • ERC CoG may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 2 000 000 for a period of 5 years (and additional contribution up to EUR 1 000 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover e.g. purchase of major equipment, access to large facilities or major field work costs).
  • A competitive ERC CoG applicant should have produced at least several important publication as main author or without the participation of their PhD supervisor and be able to demonstrate a promising track record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications as main author, invited presentations in well-established international conferences etc. (see the current Work Programme for details). It is also relevant if the PI can demonstrate that he/she have scientific collaborations with leading scientists in their research field at European or global scale or that he/she has trained excellent young researchers (doctoral students or postdocs).
  • Deadline for ERC CoG is usually at the beginning of February. 
    The 7-12 years eligibility criteria is calculated towards 1 January of the year in the call title.. The time elapsed since the PhD award can be reduced e.g. by time spent on parental leave (for details, see the “Eligibility criteria” part of current Work Programme).
    The ERC 2021 CoG deadline is, unusually, 20 April 2021 (indicative).

ERC Advanced Grants (ERC AdG)

  • Grants for internationally recognised PIs who have substantially influenced their research field in the last 10 years.
  • ERC AdG may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 2 500 000 for a period of 5 years (and additional contribution up to EUR 1 000 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover e.g. purchase of major equipment, access to large facilities or major field work costs).
  • A competitive ERC AdG applicant should be already established research leader with a recognised track record of research achievements. They should have produced in the last 10 years at least 10 publications as main author in major international scientific journals (multidisciplinary or leading in the respective field) and also e.g. 10 invited presentations in well-established international conferences, been involved in organisation of 3 well-established international conferences (as member of steering / organising committee) etc. (see the current Work Programme for details). It is also highly relevant if the PI can demonstrate that he/she has scientific collaborations with leading scientists in their research field at global scale or that they have trained excellent young researchers (e.g. that their former doctoral student or postdoc obtained ERC Starting or Consolidator grant).
  • Deadline for ERC AdG is usually at the end of August.
    Next planned ERC AdG deadline is 31 August 2021 (indicative).

ERC Synergy Grants (ERC SyG)

  • Grants support multidisciplinary projects of 2-4 PIs (and their research teams). The projects must demonstrate added value of the collaboration that could lead to breakthroughs which would be impossible by the individual PIs working alone.
  • ERC SyG may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 10 000 000 for a period of 6 years (and additional contribution up to EUR 4 000 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover e.g. purchase of major equipment, access to large facilities or major field work costs).
  • Each of the PIs must have a track record of research achievements that would be at least competitive when applying for ERC Starting, Consolidator or Advanced grant depending on the PI’s career stage.
  • Deadline for ERC SyG is usually at the beginning of November.
    ERC SyG call won’t open under Work Programme 2021. However, an ERC SyG call is expected under the Work Programme 2022 with deadline in the second half of 2021.

ERC Proof of Concept Grants (ERC PoC)

  • Only successful PIs of already awarded ERC frontier research grants (StG, CoG, AdG or SyG) can apply. Grants support further work on results or ideas arising from the funded ERC projects to verify their innovation potential.
  • ERC PoC financial contribution is awarded as a lump sum of EUR 150 000 for a period of 18 months.
  • There are usually 3 cut-off dates for proposal submission throughout the year.
    The ERC PoC is currently under revision and no ERC PoC call is planned under Work Programme 2021.

 


 See also: Faculty‘s ERC contact points – ERC pipeline – ERC grant preparation 


 

Last update: 8 April 2021.

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