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Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2019 (ERC-2019-CoG) call, what are eligible career breaks that are considered for the extension of the eligibility window?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2019 call, eligible career breaks that can be considered for the extension of the eligibility window are:

  • Maternity or paternity leave (before or after the PhD award),
  • Long-term illness (over ninety days for the Principal Investigator or a close family member) (after the PhD award),
  • Clinical training (after the award of the first eligible degree, and by up to 4 years max.),
  • National service (after the PhD award).

All these circumstances need to be properly documented. Please find below examples of such documents:

  • For maternity: a birth certificate/passport of the child(ren), family book or any other official document where the link between the PI and the child(ren) is indicated.
  • For paternity leave taken: an official testimonial from employer or state benefit record certifying the actual duration of the paternity leave. The total number of days and the exact dates need to be specified. Part-time paternity leave is also accepted.
  • For clinical training: (an) official testimonial(s) certifying the actual duration(s) of the clinical (specialty) training(s).
  • For long-term illness (over ninety days): the documentation of the periods of medical / sick leaves must be issued by an official authority (e.g. the applicant's employer, health insurances, etc.) or by an authorised person such as the physician of the applicant (medical certificates).
  • For national service: only the documented amount of leave taken for national service will be considered if they are issued by an official authority.

For more information, see section 'Eligibility criteria' of the ERC Work Programme 2019.

Q: What is the best practice for communication between the Host Institution (HI), the Principal Investigator (PI) 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 Funding and Tenders Portal (F&T Portal).

The handling of documents will be fully electronic as there is no need anymore 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 and either accepted or rejected electronically. All Reports will have to be submitted for review via the F&T Portal. According to the various phases of the project lifecycle the correct actors (HIs and/or PIs) will be informed via email that certain tasks must be performed in the F&T Portal.

Notwithstanding the above and in effort to keep on offering a high level service, the Agency strongly encourages both the Host Institutions and the Principal Investigators 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 F&T Portal which are incomplete or incorrect.

The name and surname of the ERC officer responsible for the Principal Investigator's grant can be found in the F&T Portal. The officer can be easily contacted via the messaging tool embedded in the F&T Portal, allowing the Principal Investigator to communicate directly with the officer without having to use emails.

Furthermore, the ERCEA has set up a helpdesk to provide Principal Investigators 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 Programme [Starting Grant (StG)/Consolidator Grant (CoG)/Advanced Grant (AdG)]/Synergy Grant (SyG)]?
A:

The reporting requirements for an ERC research frontier projects granted under H2020 Programme (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 Funding and Tenders Portal (F&T Portal).