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Q: What is the best practice for communication between the Host Institution, the Principal Investigator and the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) during the grant preparation and implementation?
A:

In H2020, all interactions with the ERCEA will take place online via the Participant Portal. The handling of documents will be fully electronic as there is no need any more to exchange any paper document. The grants for the successful proposals submitted to the ERC calls will be prepared and then signed electronically. Requests of amendments will be prepared, submitted via the Portal and, in case, accepted or rejected electronically. All reports will also have to be drafted and submitted via the Portal. In addition, Host Institutions (HIs) and/or Principal Investigators (PIs) will be informed via email notifications when they must perform certain tasks in the Portal.
 
Notwithstanding the above and in an effort to keep on offering a high level service, the Agency strongly encourages both the HIs and the PIs to contact the respective Agency staff for discussion in an informal phase about all developments of changes in their respective action. This is of utmost importance in order to avoid cancellation of documents or requests submitted via the Portal which are incomplete or incorrect.
 
The name and surname of the ERC officer responsible for the PI's grant can be found in the Portal. The officer can be easily contacted via the messaging tool that is in My Area>My Projects section of the Portal for your each grant, allowing the PI to communicate directly with the officer without having to use emails.
 
Furthermore, the ERCEA has set up a helpdesk to provide PIs with assistance and guidance throughout the lifetime of the project. The helpdesk can be contacted by email at: ERC-C2-PI-HELPDESK@ec.europa.eu

Q: What are the reporting requirements for ERC research frontier projects granted under H2020 (STG / COG / ADG / SYG)?
A:

The ERC reporting requirements for an ERC research frontier projects granted under H2020 (Starting Grant / Consolidator Grant / Advanced Grant or Synergy Grant) foresee two different reporting streams to cover the financial aspects, on the one hand, and the scientific aspects of the grant, on the other hand, as described in Article 20 of the ERC Model Grant Agreement.
Scientific reports are the sole responsibility of the Principal Investigator and are submitted via the Host Institution usually twice during the lifetime of a project (at mid-term and at the end). The financial reports are prepared by the Host Institution in consultation with the Principal Investigator and must usually be submitted every 18 months; this report must include information on the use of resources and the general implementation of the project (see Article 20.3 of ERC Model Grant Agreement).
At the end of a project, the Host Institution will also have to submit a Certificate on Financial Statements for each beneficiary (and linked third party) depending on the amount of the costs claimed (if the entity requests a total contribution of €325.000 or more). Both types of reports (Scientific and Financial) are prepared and submitted online via the Participant Portal.

Q: How can a candidate, who was not continuously engaged in research or other professional activities during the previous ten years due to maternity/paternity leave, demonstrate her/his merit for the call ERC-2017-ADG?
A:

When applying to the ERC Advanced Grant 2017 call, it is recommended that the researcher provides evidence of recent achievements of intellectual productivity and creativity. If a researcher returned to his/her original or new project(s) following a sabbatical leave, the reviewers are asked to take such circumstances into consideration.
For maternity, the track record considered can be extended by 18 months for each child born before or during the last ten years.
For paternity, the track record considered can be extended by the actual amount of paternity leave taken for each child born before or during the last ten years.
For long-term illness, clinical qualification or national service the track record considered can be extended by the amount of leave taken for each incident which occurred during the last ten years.
For more information, please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2017: Profile of the ERC Advanced Grant Principal Investigator or the call Information for Applicants.

Q: Can a researcher who is nearing retirement apply to the call ERC-2017-ADG?
A:

Yes, an experienced researcher is welcome to apply to the ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2017 call at any stage of their career if (s)he can prove - independently of their age - that (s)he is still an active researcher with recent outstanding results. As stated in the ERC Work Programme 2017, Principal Investigators may be of any age and nationality and may reside in any country in the world at the time of the application.
The commitment and official support of a Host Institution is nevertheless required for the whole duration of the grant.
For more information, see the ERC Work Programme 2017 (sections related to Eligible Principal Investigator and Eligible Host Institution) or the Information for Applicants relevant for the call.

Q: Can only PhD holders apply to the call ERC-2017-ADG?
A:

No, a PhD is not formally required to submit a proposal to the ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2017 call. As specified in the ERC Work Programme 2017, excellence is the sole criterion for the evaluation of a proposal.
However, a Principal Investigator is expected to have outstanding research results within the last 10 years.
For more information, please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2017: Advanced Grant profile or the Information for Applicants relevant for the call.