Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : ERA Chairs

Topic identifier: WIDESPREAD-04-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
26 July 2018
Deadline: 15 November 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Spreading excellence and widening participation
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 22 November 2018 16:00

    For the topic H2020-WIDESPREAD-04-2019: ERA Chairs, with a deadline on 15/11/2018, a total of 106 proposals were submitted.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

With adequate institutional support outstanding researchers can have a decisive and positive impact on the culture and performance of research institutions. Yet issues such as the availability of research funding, institutional rigidities and access to resources can hamper their mobility to promising institutions, particularly in low R&I performing countries. ERA Chairs actions will address the specific challenge of creating the appropriate conditions for high quality researchers and research managers to move and engage with institutions willing to achieve excellence in the scientific domain of choice and modify their research and innovation landscape.


The ERA Chairs actions will support universities or research organisations with the objective of attracting and maintaining high quality human resources under the direction of an outstanding researcher and research manager (the "ERA Chair holder") and in parallel implement structural changes to achieve excellence on a sustainable basis.

The scientific field can be any domain of research and innovation addressed under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union[1], however it needs to be closely connected with the activities of the ERA Chair holder and fully capitalise on his/her presence and expertise.

Research organisations interested in establishing an ERA Chair shall submit a proposal based on a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis, aimed at structural change in the institution and ensuring that the conditions are in place to foster excellent research. Proposals should include arrangements for compliance with ERA priorities[2] including the European Charter for Researchers & Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers[3], a description of the necessary investments in research projects, facilities and infrastructures and how those will be achieved as, for example, through the use of Cohesion Policy funds, and/ or a better use of the installed research capacity (in particular of EU co-funded research infrastructures & facilities). Proposals should outline how the proposed activities will positively induce a change in current practices.

ERA Chair holders should be excellent researchers and research managers in the given field of research, with a proven record of effective leadership. They should establish their own research team fully integrated in the coordinator's institution to significantly improve its research performance in the scientific domain of choice and to be more successful in obtaining competitive funding. The ERA Chair holder should have a position within the organisation/university, professor or similar, that will allow her/him to make appropriate resource allocation decisions, supervise team members and freely apply for research funding. A letter of the head of the institution clearly describing the intended remuneration package of the ERA Chair holder and the criteria on which the level of remuneration[4] has been established, as well as his/her roles, level of responsibility and obligations should be included within the proposal. This will allow for the determination of the commitment of the institution and feasibility of the ERA Chair tasks.

The position of the ERA Chair holder must be open to all EU and non-EU nationals but shall match the profile of an "Established Researcher (R3)" or "Leading Researcher (R4)" as set out in the European Framework for Research Careers [5]. Moreover, given the objectives of the action, internal mobility within the institution hosting the grant is excluded except in exceptional and duly justified cases. The appointment of an ERA Chair holder will be undertaken by the host institution at the beginning of the action and must follow an open, transparent and merit-based recruitment process that will be monitored by the European Commission.

It is expected that the Chair holder commits him/herself for the full duration of the grant. The ERA Chair holder is to be appointed in a full-time position (permanent or non-permanent) in accordance with the national legislation of the institution hosting the grant.

The grant that can have a duration of five years maximum will cover the appointment of the ERA Chair holder and a number of team members (e.g. their salaries, recruitment costs[6], administrative costs, travel and subsistence costs).

The grant will also provide a contribution towards measures aimed at facilitating structural changes in the institution (e.g. costs for trainings, meetings, publications and managing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).While the action does not focus on equipment and consumables, these could be accepted if they constitute only a minor part of the total Horizon 2020 funding requested and are deemed necessary to fulfil the action's specific scope and objective). For grants awarded under this topic and type of action, the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:

- Infrastructure costs;

The respective option of Article 6.5.C of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 2.5 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.

Expected Impact:

- Institutional changes within the ERA Chair host institution allowing for its full participation in the European Research Area.

- Increased attractiveness of the institution for internationally excellent and mobile researchers (including a policy of compliance to the European Research Area priorities like (an open recruitment policy, gender balance, peer review and innovative doctoral training).

- Increased research excellence of the institution in the specific fields covered by the ERA Chair holders illustrated quantitatively and qualitatively through indicators such as expected future publications in peer reviewed journals, collaboration agreements with businesses, intellectual property, new innovative products or services.

- Improved capability to compete successfully for internationally competitive research funding.

Cross-cutting Priorities:





[4]see page 40 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement (AGA) at


[6] That can be considered under the category of "other direct costs".

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


1. The applicant organisation where the ERA Chair holder will be hosted should be established in a Member State or Associated Country that is ranked below 70% of the EU27 average of the composite indicator on Research Excellence[[The detailed scores of the composite indicator can be found in p. 5 (Excellence in S&T 2010) of the "Research and Innovation Performance in EU Member States and Associated Countries 2013" at]].

The selected corrective threshold of 70% of the EU average has been chosen in line with the particular policy requirements of the measure, to ensure the greatest possible impact through targeting only the lowest performing Member States, and thereby maximising the real value of these actions.

Based on the above threshold, applicant organisations from the following Member States and Associated Countries (subject to valid association agreements of third countries with Horizon 2020) will be eligible to submit proposals (the "low R&I performing" or "Widening" countries):

Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Associated Countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

2. ERA Chairs proposals must be submitted by a single applicant as they are a mono-beneficiary action. The applicant organisation must satisfy the condition set out in point 1 above.

3. The requested EU contribution shall not exceed a maximum of EUR 2.5 million for a period of up to 5 years.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

The specific policy requirements, scope and perspectives of this topic aim at spreading excellence and widening participation in Europe, in the different "low R&I performing" or "Widening" countries[[ Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Associated Countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.]]. Therefore, to serve the objectives of the programme and to better spread the impact of the action the following is set relating to ex aequo proposals:

For proposals with the same score, any further prioritisation will be based on the following factors applied in the following order:

- approach as described in Annex H, paragraph 3b;

-proposals with coordinators established in "low R&I performing" or "Widening" countries[[ Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Associated Countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.]] not otherwise covered by more highly-ranked proposals;

- approach as described in Annex H, paragraphs 3c to 3e;

This approach will be applied successively for every group of ex aequo proposals requiring prioritisation, starting with the highest scored group, and continuing in descending order.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

There is no requirement to conclude a consortium agreement for this topic since this is a single beneficiary action aimed at supporting individual institutions.

For grants awarded under this topic for coordination and support actions the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:

- infrastructure costs

The respective option of Article 6.5(c) of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
15. Spreading excellence and widening participation WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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