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Science at the service of Europe


Fostering excellence in research

The Ideas Specific Programme supports all fields of research on the sole criterion of excellence. The Programme is implemented by the European Research Council (ERC) and is expected to advance understanding and further ideas for innovation. This activity contributes to the Europe 2020 "Innovation Union" Flagship Initiative.

EU funding in 2012
€ 1.60 billion

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The ERC launched an international awareness-raising campaign, 'ERC goes Global', which included visits to countries in North and South America, Africa and Asia. While the number of non-EU ERC grantees remains very small, the number of applications from outside Europe is rising. ERC grantees are attracting many excellent young researchers from China (3%), USA (3%), India (2%) and Russia (1%) to work on ERC projects in Europe.

Following its Gender Equality Plan, the ERC has continued to raise awareness of ERC gender policy among potential applicants and to challenge any potential gender bias in the evaluation procedures. The number of female applicants and their success rates increased in 2012. The ERC is also working towards achieving gender balance in the composition of its evaluation panels.

By the end of 2012, a total of 76 ERC grantees had won prestigious international prizes (up from 36 in 2011), including five Nobel Prize winners and three Field Medallists.