The fundamental activity of the European Research Council (ERC) is to provide attractive, flexible funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to persue ground-breaking, high-risk/high-gain research. Its main aim is to stimulate research excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, innovative and creative scientists, scholars and engineers and inspiring them to be adventurous, take risks and pursue ‘cutting edge’ research.
The ERC's frontier research grants operate on a 'bottom-up' basis, withough pre-determined priorities and researchers are encouraged to go beyond established frontiers of knowledge and the boundaries of disciplines.
ERC Funding Schemes
The ERC awards generous, long-term funding (up to five years) to excellent invesigators looking to set up or consolidate their own idepemenent research team or programme as well as to already established research leaders. The three main funding streams are:
- Starting Grants - up to EUR 2million over 5 years for researchers between 2 - 7 years (*) from their PhD
- Consolidator Grants - up to EUR 2.75million over 5 years for researchers between 7 - 12 years (*) from their PhD
- Advanced Grants - up to EUR 3.5 million over 5 years for well-established researchers
(*) Extensions to these eligibilty windows are applicable for documented periods of parental leave, long-term sick leave, clinical training or national service.
The ERC also offers additional funding to ERC Principle Investigators to maximise the impact of their current ERC projectby funding further work to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded research. This is supported through the following scheme:
- Proof of Concept scheme - up to EUR 150,000 for a period of 18 months to pre-existing ERC award holders
Further useful and practical information about ERC grants, including testimonials from ERC grants holders and evaluators, can be found in a series of podcasts on the Careers Service website