Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : ERC Proof of Concept Grant

Topic identifier: ERC-PoC-2015
Publication date: 23 July 2014

Types of action: ERC-POC Proof of Concept Grant
Opening date:
multiple cut-off
07 November 2014
Cut-off dates: 05 February 2015 17:00:00
28 May 2015 17:00:00
01 October 2015 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description


Frontier research often generates unexpected or new opportunities for commercial or societal application. The ERC Proof of Concept Grants aim to maximise the value of the excellent research that the ERC funds, by funding further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC frontier research grant) to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects. Proof of Concept Grants are therefore on offer only to Principal Investigators whose proposals draw substantially on their ERC funded research.


Maximum size of grant and grant assessment

The financial contribution will be up to a maximum of EUR 150 000 for a period of 18 months. The ERC expects that normally, proof of concept projects should be completed within 12 months. However, to allow for those projects that require more preparation time, projects will be signed for 18 months. Given this initial flexibility, extensions of the duration of proof of concept projects may be granted only exceptionally.

The overall level of the funding offered will be assessed during the evaluation. The funding requested by the applicant will be judged against the needs of the proposed activity before award. The funding requested by the Principal Investigator must be fully justified by an estimation of the actual costs for the proposed activities.

The Union financial contribution will take the form of the reimbursement of up to 100% of the total eligible and approved direct costs and of flat-rate financing of indirect costs on the basis of 25% of the total eligible direct costs. The level of the awarded grant represents a maximum overall figure – the final amount to be paid must be justified on the basis of the costs actually incurred for the project.

For further information please see the ERC Work Programme 2015.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.


  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: the conditions specific to the ERC are described in the ERC 2015 Work Programme under the heading 'Eligibility Criteria’ (pp. 35-36) and in 'Annex 3'.

    An overview is provided below:

    The ERC actions are open to researchers of any nationality who intend to conduct their research activity in any Member State or Associated Country. Principal Investigators may be of any age and nationality and may reside in any country in the world at the time of the application. ERC Principal Investigators do not have to be based full-time in Europe.

    The host institution must either be established in an EU Member State or Associated Country as a legal entity created under national law, or it may be an International European Interest Organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) or any other entity created under EU law.

  2. Eligibility conditions: the conditions specific to the European Research Council (ERC) are described in the ERC 2015 Work Programme under the heading “Eligibility criteria" of the Proof of Concept for Principal Investigators of ERC frontier research grants part and in the ERC Rules for Submission and Evaluation under Section 2.2. An overview is provided below:

    Eligible projects:
    All proposals must be complete and be submitted before the relevant call deadline. Incomplete proposals may be declared ineligible.
    The content of the proposal must relate to the objectives and to the grant type set out in the call, as defined in this work programme. A proposal will only be deemed ineligible on grounds of ‘scope’ in clear-cut cases.

    Eligible Principal Investigator:
    All Principal Investigators in an ERC frontier research project, that is either on going or has ended less than 12 months before the publication date of this call, are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant.

    Eligible Host Institution:
    The host institution (Applicant Legal Entity) must engage the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the proof of concept project as defined in the grant agreement and must be established in a Member State or an Associated Country.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation procedure and criteria: the conditions specific to the European Research council (ERC) are described in the ERC 2015 Work Programme under the heading "ERC Proof of Concept Grant evaluation". An overview is provided below:

    Evaluation procedure:
    A single-step submission and evaluation procedure will be used. The evaluation will be conducted by independent experts. These experts may work remotely and may if necessary meet as an evaluation panel as set out below on the application of the evaluation criteria.

    Evaluation criteria:
    Proof of Concept Grants are not ERC frontier research grants and may be evaluated against other evaluation criteria than excellence. The evaluation criteria for selection of proposals for Proof of Concept Grants are excellence, impact and quality and efficiency of the implementation.

    3.2 Guide to the submission and evaluation process: Please refer to the ERC Rules for Submission and Evaluation.

  4. Proposal page limits and layout:

    - Administrative Proposal Submission Forms (including the Ethics Review Table) are available online via the Participant Portal Submission System (PPSS) – pre-registration is required first.

    -The Research Proposal (Part B) and any supporting documentation (available on this page under Section 6 below and as word-templates in PPSS): to be uploaded and submitted via Participant Portal Submission System as PDF files.

    Part B (8 pages):
    • The Idea and Justification on Innovation Potential : max. 2 pages
    • Expected Impact of the proposed Innovation :2 pages
    • The proof of concept plan : 2 pages
    • Budget Table and Budget justification: 2 pages

    The Supplementary Documents:
    • Host Institution Binding Statement of Support
    • Ethics review self-assessment (if applicable) and supporting documentation.

    The minimum font size allowed is 11 points. The page size is A4 (with single line spacing). Side margins should be at least 20 mm and the bottom and top margins at least 15mm. Ensure that the font type chosen is clearly readable (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman).

    Experts will be instructed to disregard any excess pages.

  5. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement: Please refer to the ERC 2015 Work Programme Section 'Indicative summary of main calls from the 2015 budget'.

  6. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the ERC type of action under this topic:

    ERC Proof of Concept Grant:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    ERC proposal template for POC (administrative forms and structure of technical annex)
    ERC standard evaluation form for POC
    Horizon 2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreement

    Additional provisions:
    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility:  Please refer to the ERC 2015 Work Programme under the heading "Budget".

  7. Open access: The ERC supports the principle of open access to the published output of research, including peer-reviewed articles, monographs, data and data related products such as computer codes, as a fundamental part of its mission. The ERC considers that providing free online access can be the most effective way of ensuring that the fruits of the research it funds can be accessed, read and used as the basis for further research.
    Under Horizon 2020, beneficiaries of ERC grants must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results. The detailed requirements on open access to publications are contained in the Horizon 2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreement.
Additional documents

  • Information for Applicants to the ERC 2015 PoC call en
  • ERC 2015 PoC Guide for Peer Reviewers en
  • Flash Information on overall results of the ERC-2015-PoC-deadline 1 (05 Feb 2015) en
  • Flash Information on overall results of the ERC-2015-PoC-deadline 2 (28 May 2015) en
  • Legal basis - Framework Programme H2020 en
  • Legal basis - Specific Programme H2020 en
  • ERC - Work Programme 2015 en
  • ERC documents - ERC rules for submission and evaluation en
  • Frequently Asked Questions -FAQs- ERC 2015 PoC Call en
  • Flash Information on overall results of the ERC-2015-PoC-deadline 3 (01 October 2015) en

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