ERC - Providing attractive long-term funding to excellent investigators

Established under the Seventh Framework Programme, the European Research Council is the “first pan-European funding body for frontier research”. This fundamental research is viewed as the “bedrock of future growth and wellbeing”. The ERC is granted high priority because of evidence that suggests that regions and countries with exceptionally successful innovators are building their success on a foundation of excellent science. 
However, the share of organisations in the EU28 of scientific articles in the top 10% of mostly highly cited articles is still below that of the USA. It is certainly also to close this gap that the ERC as funding body for excellent science is granted importance with 17% of the total Horizon 2020 budget being allocated to it, an increase of 225% compared to the bn 7,5 € funding for the 2007-2013 period. 
Since 2007, more than 7,000 projects have been selected for funding from more than 65,000 applications.

ERC from European Research Council on Vimeo.

Governance structure and policy

Even though the European Commission provides financing and assures the integrity and accountability of the ERC, its main governing body is the ERC Scientific Council. Composed of 22 researchers that are proposed by an independent identification committee, they are appointed by the European Commission for four years, renewable once. The Scientific Council establishes the overall scientific strategy, defines the annual work programmes, the evaluation criteria and peer review methodology, and oversses the selection of expert evaluators. 

Furthermore, the ERC Executive Agency is responsible for the execution of the annual work programmes, the implementation of the calls for proposals, general management and communication activities. 

Grants and calls

The ERC will launch six calls between Spring 2017 and Fall 2018, each of them will be specialised in one programme - Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant, Advanced Grant, Proof of Concept Grant, and Synergy Grant. 

Resubmission Restrictions

Due to high demand of ERC grants, some restrictions, prohibiting the resubmission of proposals that were ranked as Category C in the First Step of the evaluation in the following year. Thus if one gets B at step one, wait one year. If one gets C at step 1, wait two years.

The infographic below illustrates the ERC resubmission restrictions.