Background

Excellent Science is the basis of innovation. To promote and incentivise Excellent Science performed in Europe and beyond, Horizon Europe supports frontier research and breakthrough scientific ideas through competitive funding calls. Calls are aimed at fostering individual researchers or teams of researchers with bold and impactful research projects. To increase chances of being awarded, applicants need to have a thorough understanding of the principles and aim of each call, as well as to analyse if their scientific strategy and profile aligns with the funder’s expectations.

European Research Council (ERC)

ERC grants are among the most prestigious European funding opportunities. Open to independent researchers from any scientific discipline, they provide generous support to perform ground-breaking research. Through the Starting, Consolidator, and Advanced Grant calls, the ERC enables projects performed by excellent individual Principal Investigators (PIs) and their teams for up to five years and €3.5 million. The ERC Synergy Grant supports small groups of two to four PIs with up to €14 million to work synergistically on transformative research projects that could not be addressed by individual PIs and their teams alone.

Any ERC proposal should contain a number of key aspects, including potential breakthroughs, clear originality, high-risk/high-gain, strong ambition, and demonstrable feasibility. These aspects allow evaluators to determine whether a proposed project meets the sole criterion of Scientific Excellence. Often the granted projects develop new approaches that cut across traditional disciplines. Impactful ERC projects are further expected to provoke new research lines. In addition, the profile and previous achievements of the applicant researchers also need to show strong and persistent evidence of Scientific Excellence.

For most applicants, receiving an ERC grant will be a career-changer. Therefore, meticulous preparation and identifying the optimal moment to apply are essential. To determine if their project idea aligns with the focus of the ERC calls, researchers need to understand the ERC´s unique aim, scope, and evaluation process. Before starting to develop an ERC research proposal prospective applicants should also further benchmark their achievements against previous grantee profiles in their respective discipline.

Many applicants struggle with preparing a cohesive and convincingly structured presentation of the proposed research. The largely undefined proposal template of the ERC calls makes it a priority to develop an easy-to-follow internal logical structure. Particular attention should also be paid to target the two main proposal documents - part B1 and part B2 - towards their different audiences.

Helix Delivery Team

Crowdhelix, together with ERC experts sciencepoint.eu and Bekk Research Support, helps prospective applicants to develop top-level proposals with increased chances of receiving funding.

Steps towards a competitive ERC proposal

Past Event

Thu, Jun 30, 2022 10:30 AM - Thu, Jun 30, 2022 12:30 PM

ERC experts sciencepoint and Bekk Research Support will hold an exclusive online event for Crowdhelix members on Jun 30, 10.30 am CEST. The focus is on the ERC Starting and Consolidator Grant programs, which are amongst Europe’s prime funding schemes for early-to mid career researchers, enabling grantees to conduct bold research projects on any scientific or scholar topic. The aim of the event is to help prospective applicants evaluate if their project ideas and profiles are “ERC material”, in the context of the ERC’s strategic aim and evaluation process. Further, we will share suggestions and practical tips for how to avoid common problems, based on our experience of having reviewed more than two hundred ERC applications. The seminar is directed to applicants and research managers alike. Should you have any questions about the event, please contact us at [email protected]

Organisations

  • Crowdhelix
  • Bekk Research Support
  • Tel Aviv University

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