The ERC in brief
Founded in 2007, the European Research Council is part of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020). Its president is the French mathematician Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who was appointed in December 2013.
Individual research grants
Endowed with a budget of €13.1 billion for 2014-2020, the ERC awards individual research grants each year to scientists from around the world. Once selected, the recipients must conduct their research in an EU member state or associated country.
At the frontiers of knowledge
The ERC funds innovative exploratory projects that are likely to generate scientific, technological or societal progress. While all fields of knowledge are eligible, preference is given to new ideas at the interface of the traditional disciplines.
Scientific excellence is the ERC’s sole selection criterion. It is evaluated by international experts organized in 25 specialized panels. In 2015, 15% of the proposals submitted by French researchers were approved (compared with a European average of 13.4%).
In order to ensure the projects’ continuity in the long-term, ERC grants are allocated for a duration of five years. They enable the recipients to recruit collaborators, carry out missions in other countries, etc. The ERC offers researchers a flexible framework, especially in terms of submitting project proposals and modifying their research along the way.
The ERC awards four different types of grants every year
• Starting Grant for young researchers, two to seven years following completion of a Ph.D. (up to €2m)
• Consolidator Grant for researchers, seven to twelve years following completion of a Ph.D. (up to €2.75m)
• Advanced Grant for established researchers (up to €3.5m).
• Proof of Concept to support ERC grantees with the commercial or societal application of the results of their funded research