ERC Starting Grants: € 485 million in grants to 325 researchers in Europe

Date: 08/09/2016

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced, 8 September, the awarding of its Starting Grants to 325 early-career researchers throughout Europe. The funding, worth in total €485 million and up to €1.5 million per grant, will enable them to set up their own research teams and pursue 'ground-breaking' ideas.

The funded research covers all disciplines: physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, and social science and humanities. The grants are awarded under the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: "It is pivotal to keep scientific quality as the one and only selection criterion, and to trust researchers to choose significant topics, without imposing any demands on what to be explored".


ERC grants are awarded to researchers of any nationality based in, or willing to move to, Europe. In this year's competition, researchers of 42 nationalities received the funding. They will be hosted in 23 countries across Europe, with Germany (61), the United Kingdom (59) and France (46) as top locations. The ERC received 2935 proposals of which around 11% was funded.

Thirty eight grantees are non-European nationals, based across Europe. Around 30% of grantees are women. These Starting Grants will enable the selected researchers to build their own teams, potentially engaging more than 1,000 postdocs and PhD students as ERC team members.

About ERC

ERC Starting Grants are awarded to researchers of any nationality with two to seven years of experience since completion of the PhD (or equivalent degree) and a scientific track record showing great promise. The research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries. The funding (maximum €1.5 million per grant) is provided over up to five years.

Two thirds of the ERC budget is earmarked for the early-career researchers – the Starting Grant and Consolidator Grant schemes - and calls for proposals are published once a year for each scheme. To date, the ERC has funded more than 6,500 top researchers at various careers stages. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council, and, since January 2014, the ERC President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

The ERC has a budget of over €13 billion for the years 2014 to 2020 and is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

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For more information

Press release (including list of funded projects)

ERC website

Statistics - ERC Starting Grant 2016