"ERA Chairs" is an important part of the EU's effort to unlock Europe's potential in research and innovation.
The funding, coming from the EU's research and innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020, will enable these institutions to attract top academics so that they can compete with centres of excellence elsewhere in the European Research Area (ERA). The selected institutions have to award ERA Chairs to outstanding academics who have the capacity to raise standards and attract more high level staff as well as money from other sources, such as EU research funding or regional funds. The positions must be published and respect ERA guidelines (gender balance, fairness, transparency, etc.). ERA Chair holders can come from anywhere in the world.
Eligible Member states include all those that joined the EU after 2004 plus Portugal and Luxembourg, as well as eight of the non-EU countries associated to Horizon 2020.
This first Horizon 2020 call on ERA Chairs was launched on 11 December 2013 with a budget of €33.6 million, following a pilot call under the 7th research framework programme (IP/14/125).
Under Horizon 2020, the EU's research funding programme, a strong packet of measures with up to €800 million in funding is available for widening participation of low-research performing Member States. Such actions include special awards like the ERA Chairs instrument, Teaming (new centres of excellence – IP/15/3885) or Twinning (institutional networking that includes support on staff exchanges, expert advice and assistance).