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Ideas

FP7 IDEAS - European Research Council  (ERC) Projects

European Research Council (ERC) projects are funded from the IDEAS Specific Programme of FP7. The fundamental principle for all ERC activities is that of stimulating investigator-initiated frontier research across all fields of research, on the basis of excellence.

The ERC, also refer to A1.2.4 (ERC Executive Agency) below, complements other research activities under the 7th Framework Programme managed by the European Commission, including the Marie Curie schemes, strategic basic research in support of thematic priorities, and support for European infrastructures.

Since many investigators who will be involved in the funded activities are likely to be working within universities, academies, research centres and similar establishments, the ERC can have a strong incentive effect on these institutions.

The Scientific Council of the ERC establishes the ERC's strategy. It has full authority over decisions on the type of research to be funded and acts as guarantor of the quality of the activity from the scientific perspective. In particular, among its tasks are the development of the annual work programme, the establishment of the peer review structure and process, as well as the monitoring and quality control of the programme’s implementation from the scientific perspective, including the development of the ERC's strategy regarding international cooperation.

Two types of ERC grant are available. These two funding streams, operate on a 'bottom-up' basis, across all research fields, without predetermined priorities:

The ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants (ERC Starting Grants). The objective is to provide critical and adequate support to the independent careers of excellent researchers, whatever their nationality, located in or moving to the Member States and Associated countries, who are at the stage of starting or consolidating their own independent research team or, depending on the field, their independent research programme.

The ERC Advanced Investigator Grants (ERC Advanced Grants). The objective is to encourage and support excellent, innovative investigator-initiated research projects by leading advanced investigators across the Member States and Associated countries. This funding stream complements the Starting Grant scheme by targeting the population of researchers who have already established themselves as being independent research leaders in their own right.

The Grants will support projects carried out by individual teams which are headed by a single principal investigator (P.I.) of any nationality and, as necessary, include additional team-members. These teams may be of national or trans-national character. With the focus on the Principal Investigator, the concept of individual team is fundamentally different from that of a traditional 'network' or 'research consortium'; proposals of the latter type will not be accepted.

An ERC grant is awarded to the institution (Applicant Legal Entity) that engages and hosts the Principal Investigator (PI), with the attached commitment that this institution offers appropriate conditions for the PI independently to direct the research and manage its funding for the duration of the project

Any type of legal entity, including universities, research centres and undertakings can host the Principal Investigator and his/her team and the Principal Investigator and his/her activity are not constrained by the research strategy of the enterprise.

 


ERC Starting Grants

Budget – 295.8 M EURO from 2009 Work Program

The ERC actions are open to researchers of any nationality who intend to establish and conduct their research activity in any Member State or Associated Country. The Principal Investigator may be of any age and nationality and may reside in any country in the world at the time of the application. The Principal Investigator must have been awarded his/her first PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree20) at least 3 and less than 8 years prior to the publication date of the call for proposals of the ERC Starting Grant.

The host institution will host and engage the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the grant. It must be situated in one of the Member States, or one of the Associated countries. It may also be an International European Interest Organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.) or the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. Normally, the applicant legal entity will be the only participating legal entity. Other legal entities, including those located in third countries, may however be involved and receive funding to support the work of additional team members, if so specified in the grant award or subsequent amendments to the original grant.

Depending on the specific project and field, the level of ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants may be up to around €2,000,000 for a period of 5 years 5 (pro rata for projects of shorter duration)

The Community financial contribution shall be in the form of a grant to the budget corresponding to 100% of the total eligible and approved direct costs and a contribution of 20% of the total eligible direct costs (excluding the direct costs for subcontracting and the costs of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the host institution) towards indirect costs.

The ERC Scientific Council has established the following indicative percentage budgets for each of the 3 main research domains:

Physical Sciences & Engineering: 39%

Life Sciences: 34%

Social Sciences & Humanities: 14%

Interdisciplinary domain with an indicative budget of 13%.

A single submission of the full proposal will be followed by a two-step evaluation. Principal Investigators whose proposals will be retained for the second step of the evaluation may be invited for an interview to present their project to the evaluation panel meeting in Brussels. They will be accordingly reimbursed for their travel and subsistence expenses.

Only one ERC grant managed by a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator can be active at any time.

No Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator may be associated with more than one application to the ERC during the same year.

It will be possible for ERC Starting Grant Principal Investigators to compete within the last two years of the Starting Grant for an Advanced Investigator Grant to allow for uninterrupted funding of their project/activity.

 

ERC Advanced Grants

Budget – 489.5 M EURO from 2009 Work Program

 

Advanced Grants are intended to promote substantial advances in the frontiers of knowledge, and to encourage new productive lines of enquiry and new methods and techniques, including unconventional approaches and investigations at the interface between established disciplines. higher-than-normal risk that the research project does not entirely fulfil its aims.

The ERC actions are open to researchers of any nationality who intend to establish and conduct their research activity in any Member State or Associated Country. The ERC Advanced Grant Principal Investigator (and Co-Investigator) can be of any age and nationality and he/she can reside in any country in the world at the time of the application. Principal Investigators applying for the ERC Advanced Grant must be established research leaders who have made exceptional contributions to research in terms of originality and significance. No specific eligibility criteria with respect to their academic requirements are consequently foreseen.

The aim is to fund individual teams led by established, innovative and active Principal Investigators. They will include, for example, leading contributors to research advances in Europe, leading scientists of the European 'diaspora' or non-EU nationals who wish to establish themselves in Europe and pursue ground-breaking, high-risk research that opens new directions in their respective research fields or other domains. Applicants must have a track record of research achievements and recognised as such. The contribution of Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators must be carried out in the EU or Associated countries. Team members, unlike Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators, may conduct the funded research outside the European Union or Associated countries.

The host institution will host and engage the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the grant. It must be situated in one of the Member States, or one of the Associated countries. It may also be an International European Interest Organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.) or the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. Normally, the applicant legal entity will be the only participating legal entity. Other legal entities, including those located in third countries, may however be involved and receive funding to support the work of additional team members, if so specified in the grant award or subsequent amendments to the original grant.

During the period of the 7th Framework Programme, this scheme is expected to become the largest funding activity of the ERC. Applications may be made in any field of research.

Depending on the specific project and field, the level of these grants may be up to around EUR 3,500,000 for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). Normally, however, grants will be limited to a maximum of around EUR 2,500,000 unless the application involves specific features requiring a higher level of support: a 'Co-Investigator project'; requirement to purchase major research equipment, or a Principal Investigator who is coming from a third country to establish a research team and activity at a host institution in a member state or associated country.

The Community financial contribution shall be in the form of a grant to the budget corresponding to 100% of the total eligible and approved direct costs and a contribution of 20% of the total eligible direct costs (excluding the direct costs for subcontracting and the costs of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the host institution) towards indirect costs.

Applicants for the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant are expected to be active researchers and to have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years which must be presented in the application.

Proposals are submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI), who has scientific responsibility for the project, on behalf of the host institution which is the applicant legal entity. A single submission of the full proposal will be followed by a two-step evaluation. The ERC Scientific Council has established the following indicative percentage budgets34 for each of the 3 main research domains:

Physical Sciences & Engineering: 39%

Life Sciences: 34%

Social Sciences & Humanities: 14%

Interdisciplinary domain with an indicative budget of 13%

Only one ERC grant managed by a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator can be active at any time. No Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator may be associated with more than one eligible proposal for an ERC-Advanced Grant to either of the first two Advanced Grant calls (ERC-2008-AdG or ERC-2009-AdG).



    

 

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