The European Research Council (ERC) is a funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by funding the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, and supporting their innovative ideas. Researchers from anywhere in the world can apply for ERC grants provided the research they undertake will be carried out in an EU Member State or Associated Country.
ERC grants are becoming more and more internationally recognised as awards for scientific excellence.
Research projects funded by the ERC can last up to five years and can cover frontier research in any scientific domain, including social sciences, humanities and interdisciplinary studies. The grants may help both emerging research leaders ('ERC Starting Grants' and 'ERC Consolidator Grants') and already well-established and recognised scientists ('ERC Advanced Grants'). Find out more about the different ERC grants.
If you are moving to Europe (EU Member State or Associated Country), you can apply for additional funding, which can total up to €2.5 million for a Starting Grant (instead of €1.5 million for those already established in Europe), €3 million for a Consolidator Grant (instead of €2 million) and €3.5 million for an Advanced Grant (instead of €2.5 million).
How to apply?
Applications can be submitted when an ERC call for proposals is opened. For successful applicants an agreement is then signed between the ERC and the institution that will host your research project ("Host Institution") in an EU Member State or an Associated Country.
The selection of proposals is done by highly recognised international peer review panels.
Both the application, granting and reporting processes are very straightforward and user-friendly. Furthermore, you have the possibility to change host institution in Europe in the course of your project if useful, as ERC grants are "portable": the money follows the researcher and is not linked to the initial host institution.
Time to spend on the project
Researchers applying for ERC-funding must be strongly committed to the project and spend a significant amount of time on it, at least
• 50% for Starting Grants,
• 40% for Consolidator Grants,
• 30% for Advanced Grants.
Principal Investigators in Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants should spend at least 50% of their total working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country whilst carrying out the ERC-funded research.
Regarding the Synergy Grants, with two to four Principal Investigators involved in a project, the same general rule applies. However, since 2019, one of this small group of Principal Investigators can be hosted full-time by an institution outside of the EU or Associated Country.
Participation of team members and Publication of vacancies
ERC grants support projects carried out by an individual researcher ('Principal Investigator') and his or her team. The constitution of the research teams is flexible and team members can be of any nationality, European or non European, depending on the nature of a project.
Vacancies for team members interested in joining an ERC led research project, can be published on the Euraxess-Jobs portal.
Opportunities to join ERC-funded teams
Initiatives have been launched in the form of "Implementing arrangement" to boost opportunities for scientists supported by foreign agencies to come to Europe to join the research teams of European Research Council (ERC) grantees.