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Q: Should a Synergy proposal for the ERC funding (ERC-2019-SyG) be only a successful collaboration?
A:

Not only. The ultimate goal of the ERC Synergy (SyG) scheme is to allow for a close and genuine collaborative interaction that will enable transformative research at the forefront of science, capable of yielding unpredictable and ground-breaking scientific results and/or cross-fertilizing disciplines, leading to a result that is more than just the sum of Principal Investigators (PIs)' individual contributions.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and the Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: How is synergy defined in an ERC Synergy grant (ERC-SyG-2019)?
A:

The term 'Synergy' cannot be defined in one single way. Synergy projects should generally involve composite teams that are capable of tackling bold new research themes that require novel approaches and unique fusions of researchers. Such teams are typically characterised by exceptional combinations of knowledge and skills, in which the 2,3 or 4 Principal Investigators hold a central role. Synergy projects require continuous interlinking, feedbacks and integration amongst the different research teams. A Synergy project could incorporate novel multi- or trans-disciplinary approaches or innovative combinations of knowledge and skills in a single discipline or research field. Each Synergy proposal must demonstrate that its objectives can only be achieved through the specific combination of knowledge and skills brought together by the participating PIs. In other words, a major scientific question of pressing significance, an integrated team and the transformative scientific potential are crucial elements in conceiving a Synergy proposal.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Starting Grant 2019 call, how does the ERC treat the request to extend the eligibility time-window in the case of clinical training?
A:

For clinical training, the effective elapsed time since the award of the first PhD [for applicants whose first eligible degree is their MD such incidents can be considered from the date of the completion of their MD degree] will be considered reduced by the documented amount of clinical training actually received by the Principal Investigator after the award of the first eligible degree, and by up to 4 years maximum.

In case of part-time clinical training, the exact total training time will be calculated pro-rata to extend the eligibility window. Documented clinical training that has taken place between the award of the first eligible degree and the call deadline can be used to extend the eligibility window up to 4 years maximum.

Clinical training should be documented by an official signed testimonial from the employer indicating the start and end date of the training and preferably also the work pattern (full-time or part-time training).

Q: Do Principal Investigators (PIs) need to have a PhD degree to apply to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call for proposals?
A:

The ERC Synergy Grant (SyG) funding scheme imposes very little eligibility constraints on applicants. A PhD degree is not formally required. However, please be aware that this is an extremely competitive call.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call and eligibility requirements is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: For an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG), should the core of the research be organised in the corresponding Host Institution?
A:

There are no specific constraints in this respect. The corresponding Host Institution is the one hosting the corresponding Principal Investigator (PI). As this PI is the 'primus inter pares' for the project as is the main administrative contact. The Principal Investigators are considered equal regardless of their Host Institution.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: For an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call for proposals, should all Host Institutions involved submit a support letter?
A:

No, only a support letter from the corresponding Host Institution (HI) is required at the time of submission, i.e. from the institution hosting the corresponding Principal Investigator (PI).

Grants are awarded to the Host Institution with the explicit commitment that this institution offers appropriate conditions for the Principal Investigator(s) to independently manage the ERC funded research.

In case of Synergy Grants, where different Principal Investigators are hosted by more than one HI, each of the HIs shall offer their support to the PIs hosted by them for at least the duration of the grant. At submission stage, however, only the corresponding HI must provide the host support letter for the corresponding Principal Investigator.

The conditions offered by the Host Institutions, including the 'portability' of the grant, are the subject of a supplementary agreement between the Principal Investigator(s) and their respective Host Institution(s).

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: Which panel should be chosen when applying to an ERC Synergy Grant call (ERC-2019-SyG)?
A:

Applications to a Synergy Grant (SyG) call should indicate only keywords, and not panels, cf. ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: Are there "Co-investigators" in ERC Synergy (ERC-2019-SyG) proposals?
A:

No, the concept of 'co-investigator' actually does not exist in the context of a Synergy (SyG) grant. All Principal Investigators (PIs) have equal status, although there is a 'Corresponding Principal Investigator' (cPI) designated to be the administrative contact with the ERCEA.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: Can a Principal Investigator (PI) applying to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) have a team working with them?
A:

Yes, for ERC SyG, each PI can work with a team and/or collaborators who are either at the same institution or at different entities.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: Do all of the Principal Investigators (PIs) applying to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) need to be affiliated to a Host Institution?
A:

Yes, any Principal Investigator (PI) involved in a Synergy Grant (SyG) proposal must be engaged and hosted by a Host Institution. In general, the Host Institutions should be established in one of the EU Member States or H2020 Associated Countries (AC) for at least the full duration of the project. In the 2019 SyG call, with the exception of the corresponding Host Institution, it is possible to have one PI applying with a Host Institution outside of the EU or H2020 Associated Countries.

The Principal Investigators (PIs) must also spend 50% of their time in Europe, except the PI who will be hosted be an institution outside of the EU or AC.

Institutions outside Europe may be involved, as additional beneficiaries to the grant, and may even receive funding provided that their participation is deemed essential for carrying out the action, but only as additional partners under the heading of one of the European based PIs. In addition, their presence must be well justified in the proposal.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019.

Q: How many Principal Investigators (PIs) can apply to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG)?
A:

For an ERC Synergy (SyG) grant, a minimum two and maximum four Principal Investigators (PIs) can apply.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019.

Q: What are the required profiles of researchers to apply to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call?
A:

The Principal Investigators (PIs) with different profiles can apply to the ERC-2019-SYG call as long as they have competitive track records appropriate to their career stage. PIs must then present, as part of the proposal, either an early achievement track-record or a 10-year track-record, whichever is most appropriate for their career stage (cf. Starting, Consolidator, Advanced Grant profiles in the ERC Work Programme 2019).

Q: Does the geographical distance of Principal Investigators (PIs)/Host Institutions affect chances for winning an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG)?
A:

No, there are no specific constraints on the type of configuration. Being located in two different countries will not affect the chance of success. The PIs have to demonstrate convincingly that there will be significant synergies and sufficient time spent together in close collaboration.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and the Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the location of the Host Institutions (HIs) or Principal Investigators (PIs) applying to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG)?
A:

Principals Investigators (PIs) can work at the same Host Institution (HI), or at different HIs within one country or at HIs based in different countries. The HIs must be established in an EU Member State or H2020 Associated Countries. In the 2019 Synergy (SyG) call, with the exception of the corresponding Host Institution, it is possible to have one PI applying with a Host Institution outside of the EU or H2020 Associated Countries.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019.

Q: What is the format of an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) interview?
A:

The exact interview details will be communicated to the successful step 2 applicants shortly after the end of the 2019 Synergy grant (SyG) step 2 panel meetings, at the latest by the end of August 2019.

The interview details will be depending on the decision of the panels: interviews could last around 50 minutes in total. The panel may ask the applicants to give, a 10-20 minute presentation on the proposed research project. The remaining time could be devoted to questions and answers on the scientific content and implementation of the project, modalities of collaboration among the principal investigators and the project's budget and resources, and so on. All Principal Investigators are required to be present at the interview.

The presentation is an opportunity to elaborate on the synergies that the project aims to create.

Q: Are all Principal Investigators (PIs) interviewed during the evaluation of the ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call?
A:

Yes, for Synergy Grants (SyG), all Principal Investigators (PIs) whose proposal has been retained after step 2 will be invited to an interview in Brussels (in the third evaluation step).

It is highly recommended that all PIs are present at the interview to facilitate the assessment of the Synergy group. In very exceptional cases, in case a Principal Investigator is unable to attend the interview (e.g. pregnancy, immobility due to illness, expedition), the ERC offers video- or phone- conference alternatives for a remote interview.

Q: Is it possible to apply to the ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call if the same PI also intends to apply to an ERC Starting (StG), Consolidator (CoG) or Advanced Grant (AdG) call?
A:

Similarly to other ERC frontier calls, a Principal Investigator (PI) may submit proposals to different ERC frontier research calls published under the same Work Programme, but only the first eligible proposal will be evaluated. Ineligible or withdrawn proposals do not count against this limit (ERC Work Programme 2019).

Thus if a PI applies  to the ERC 2019 SyG call and the proposal is eligible and evaluated, their other application to a StG, CoG or AdG call under the ERC Work Programme 2019 will not be evaluated.

It is important to note that the year of an ERC call refers to the ERC Work Programme under which the call was made and can be established by its call identifier. A 2019 ERC call is therefore one that was made under the ERC Work Programme 2019 and will have 2019 in the call identifier (for example ERC-2019-SyG).

Example: A proposal submitted to ERC AdG 2019 call will not be evaluated if the PI had already applied to the ERC 2019 SyG call and the SyG proposal was considered eligible, even if the call deadlines are in two different calendar years (in 2018 for the SyG 2019 call and in 2019 for the AdG 2019 call).

Note that it is possible to apply both to the ERC AdG 2018 call and to the ERC 2019 SyG call. In case the PI is selected for funding in the AdG 2018 call and the Grant Agreement is signed, the PI becomes ineligible in the 2019 SyG call, because a PI can hold only one ERC frontier grant at any one time. For further questions please contact ERC-SyG-APPLICANTS@ec.europa.eu.

Q: Can one of the Principal Investigators of a Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) be based in a country outside of the EU Member States or Associated Countries?
A:

Yes. In case of a Synergy (SyG) Grant one of the Principal Investigators (PI), with the exception of the corresponding PI, can apply with a Host Institution outside of the EU Member States or H2020 Associated Countries.

Note, that except the PI applying with a third country host institution, each PI has to spend at least 50% of their working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country. All PIs have to devote at least 30% of their working time to the ERC-funded project. See then ERC Work Programme 2019.

Q: Are the eligibility conditions for the Principal Investigator (PI) submitting a Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) applicable to all PIs?
A:

The eligibility criteria, including the restrictions for submission, need to be fulfilled by all Principal investigators (PIs) submitting a Synergy (SyG) proposal of the ERC Work Programme 2019). Please, also note that any PI may participate as PI - in only one ERC frontier research project at any one time.

Q: May a Principal Investigator (PI) whose proposal was evaluated in the ERC 2018 Synergy (SyG) call as category B or C in Step 1 or B in step 2 submit a proposal to the ERC 2019 SyG call?
A:

No, a Principal Investigator (PI) whose proposal was evaluated as category C at step 1 or, B at step 1 or 2 in the 2018 Synergy (SyG) call may not submit a proposal to the 2019 SyG call.

Further details in the ERC Work Programme 2019, section Restrictions on submission of proposals.