If, as an established leading principal investigator, you are interested in the opportunity for long-term funding, the ERC is here to help. ERC Advanced Grants are designed to allow outstanding research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects in Europe.
The scheme targets researchers who have already established themselves as top independent research leaders.
ERC Advanced Grants in brief
- Eligibility: any nationality, any age. Applicants must be leaders in their respective field(s) of research and must demonstrate significant achievement in the last 10 years
- Location: research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation (known as a Host Institution/HI). It could be the HI where the applicant already works, or any other HI located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries
- Funding: up to € 2.5 million per grant
- Duration: up to 5 years
- Sole evaluation criterion: scientific excellence of researcher and research proposal
- Calls for proposals: published once a year
Projects being highly ambitious, pioneering and unconventional
Research proposed for funding to the ERC should aim high, both with regards to the ambition of the envisaged scientific achievements as well as to the creativity and originality of proposed approaches.
Proposals should rise to pioneering and far-reaching challenges at the frontiers of the field(s) addressed. They should involve new, ground-breaking or unconventional methodologies, whose risky outlook is justified by the possibility of a major breakthrough with an impact beyond a specific research domain/discipline.
For exceptional research leaders only
Applicants for the ERC Advanced Grants - called Principal Investigators (PI) - are expected to be active researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.
The Principal Investigators should be exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions. No specific eligibility criteria with respect to the academic requirements are foreseen.
Attractive long-term funding
Advanced grants will be up to € 2.5 million for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). However, an additional € 1.0 million can be made available to cover eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving from a third country to the EU or an associated country and/or the purchase of major equipment and/or access to large facilities.
An ERC grant can cover up to 100% of the total eligible direct costs of the research plus a contribution of 25% of the total eligible costs towards indirect costs.
The relevant terms and conditions for funding are described in the ERC grant agreement. It essentially consists of an ‘ERC core grant agreement’ between the ERC and the host institution, and a ‘Supplementary agreement’ between the Principal Investigator and the host institution.
In the hands of distinguished peers
Proposals are evaluated by selected international peer reviewers evaluate proposals on the basis of excellence as the sole criterion. It will be applied to the evaluation of both the research project and the Principal Investigator in conjunction.
Peer reviewers are in charge of assessing and scoring the proposals. Those who pass the quality threshold are ranked. Depending on the call budget available, a budgetary cut-off applies to the ranking list and only the highest ranked proposals are offered an ERC grant until the call's budget has been used.
See also Evaluation panels for more information.
ERC grants support projects carried out by an individual researcher ('Principal Investigator') who can employ researchers of any nationality as team members. It is also possible to have one or more team members located in a non-European country.
Vacancies for team members interested in joining an ERC led research project, can be published on the Euraxess-Jobs portal.
Initiatives, under the form of 'Implementing Arrangements', exist for ERC-funded teams in Europe to host non-European talented scientists. Find out more about the agreements.