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The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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European Research Council

Are you a researcher with an excellent scientific profile and with visionary research projects in mind that you want to realise in Europe? The European Research Council (ERC) has a funding scheme that will meet your needs.

The European Research Council supports frontier research, cross disciplinary proposals and pioneering ideas in new and emerging fields which introduce unconventional and innovative approaches. The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields of research, on the basis of scientific excellence. A total budget of 13 095 million euro is available for the implementation of the ERC funding schemes under Horizon 2020.

What are the main ERC principles?

  • 1 researcher; 1 host institution; 1 project; 1 selection criterion: scientific excellence
  • No consortia, no networks, no co-financing
  • Applications can be made in any field of research, including social sciences and humanities
  • Independent researchers from anywhere in the world, of any age and career stage can apply
  • Host institutions must provide conditions for the researcher to direct the research and manage its funding
  • The grant is 'portable' to another host institution, if the grantholder wishes so
  • Research must be carried out in one of the 28 EU member states or associated countries

What type of grants does the ERC fund?

  • ERC Starting Grant for young, early-career top researchers (2-7 years after PhD) -up to 1.5 million euro for a period of 5 years.
  • ERC Consolidator Grant for already independent excellent researchers 7-12 years after PhD) -up to 2 million euro for a period of 5 years.
  • ERC Advanced Grant for senior research leaders with significant research achievements in the last 10 years -up to 2.5 million euro for a period of 5 years.
  • ERC Proof of Concept Grants for ERC grant holders who want to check the market and/or innovation potential of research results from ERC-projects -up to 150,000 euro for a period of 12 months.

Check out the tips and tricks in this step-by-step video guide to the application process.



23/07/2014 - 02:00

Check out the tips and tricks in this step-by-step video guide to the application process Read more


30/09/2015 - 17:47

How can amateurs contribute to research projects? In this issue, we put citizen science in the spotlight Read more

16/06/2015 - 14:52

Eight years after its launch, the European Research Council (ERC) is celebrating a significant milestone: the funding of its 5,000th researcher. To mark this occasion, a debate in the European Parliament and a symbolic awarding of the grant taking place on 16th of June in Brussels. Read more

13/03/2015 - 12:42

Today, the Minister for Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCYT) of the Republic of Argentina, Lino Barañao, and the Director for International Cooperation of the European Commission's Research and Innovation Directorate-General, Maria Cristina Russo, honour of the 10th anniversary of the Argentinean-European Union Liaison Office for Science, Technology and Innovation. Read more

Project stories

13/11/2015 - 01:00

Why do so many diabetes patients develop kidney disease, and how can we improve prevention? EU-funded research has examined insulin-related processes at play in impaired renal function — and it may have found a way to protect key cells that help to filter our blood. Read more

09/11/2015 - 18:41

Since the early 1990s almost 2000 planets have been detected outside our solar system. These discoveries led to a new area of universe sciences which is rapidly expanding. Astronomers are currently searching for extra-solar planets using a huge array of telescopes and instruments. Funded by the ERC, Prof. Cardoso Santos’ team has developed new tools to be used in both ground- and space-based facilities, to detect and study these planets. Read more

09/11/2015 - 18:33

More than 95% of our universe comes in the mysterious form of dark matter and dark energy that we can neither explain nor directly detect. Dr Catherine Heymans leads a team of researchers who were the first to “map” dark matter on the largest of scales. She now uses her research to confront Einstein’s theory of general relativity in an attempt to explain the nature of dark energy. Read more


25/09/2015 - 17:40

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest ever programme for research and innovation, and it has got off to an excellent start. This brochure presents information on the first 100 calls for proposals that closed by 1 December 2014. Read more

16/06/2015 - 17:37

In 2015, the ERC celebrates its 5000th grant, which is presented in this folder alongside other ongoing and finished projects funded by the ERC in life sciences; physical sciences and engineering; and social sciences and humanities. Read more

01/04/2015 - 13:30

For three decades, the EU Framework Programmes have been funding breakthroughs across Europe. RTD’s Horizon Magazine looks at the people and events that have helped shape European research policy, taking you behind the scenes during the pivotal moments from the last 30 years of research funding. These articles have been brought together into a special Horizon supplement to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Framework Programmes. Read more

Press Release

15/10/2015 - 18:53

The ERC has today opened the next competition for its Consolidator Grants. More than €600 million is earmarked for an estimated 335 grants. The deadline for submission of research proposals is 2 February 2016. Read more

13/10/2015 - 18:51

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: "Research and innovation are the engines of Europe's progress and vital to addressing today's new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies. Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe's top scientific efforts, making the difference to citizens' lives." Read more

29/07/2015 - 13:55

The European Commission adopted yesterday the ERC Work Programme 2016. The programme foresees €1.67 billion for grants to top researchers. Within the new series of competitions, the ERC has opened today the first one, the call for Starting Grants 2016, with a budget of €485 million and deadline of 17 November 2015. This scheme is open to researchers with 2 to 7 years of experience since completion of PhD and a promising scientific track record. Read more

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