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Q: In order to provide open access to the publications of ERC-funded researchers, is it enough to post them on the project's webpage or on the department's website?
A:

If the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC, posting the publications on the project's webpage or the departments' website is not enough. The Special Clause clearly states that publications must be immediately deposited in a repository for scientific publications and that best efforts must be made to provide open access through this repository. The ERC Open Access Guidelines also state that publications should be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication, with open access being provided as soon as possible.

Q: Are reviews covered by Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access? Are they covered by the ERC Open Access Guidelines?
A:

Special Clause 39 ERC refers to scientific publications related to foreground from the project. Reviews typically provide an overview of developments in a specific area, but do not present the author's own new research results that have not been published elsewhere already. Therefore, reviews will typically not be covered by the Special Clause. However, ERC grantees are encouraged to provide open access also to any reviews that they may publish.

Q: Are monographs, books, book chapters, etc. also covered by Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access? Are they covered by the ERC Open Access Guidelines?
A:

This is explained in detail in section 7.3 of the Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects (e.g. obtaining information about the journal policy on open access, informing the publisher about EU Commission policy on open access; requesting an amending clause to contracts to include open access, consider submitting to another journal, etc.). If it is not possible to deposit the publication in a repository and give it open access within six months, due to longer embargo periods imposed by the publisher, but it is possible to provide immediate open access by paying an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher, grantees are strongly encouraged to choose this second option.

Q: What does the term 'best effort' in Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access mean?
A:

This is explained in detail in section 7.3 of the Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects (e.g. obtaining information about the journal policy on open access, informing the publisher about EU Commission policy on open access; requesting an amending clause to contracts to include open access, consider submitting to another journal, etc.). If it is not possible to deposit the publication in a repository and give it open access within six months, due to longer embargo periods imposed by the publisher, but it is possible to provide immediate open access by paying an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher, grantees are strongly encouraged to choose this second option.

Q: For ERC projects, is it necessary to provide open access to publications even for the non-main/corresponding author?
A:

If the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC, its provisions apply to all scientific publications related to foreground of the project, regardless whether the ERC funded author (PI or team member) is the main/corresponding author or not. If the Grant Agreement does not contain Special Clause 39 ERC, grantees should nevertheless consider providing open access to all publications resulting from the project on a voluntary basis, regardless whether the ERC funded author (PI or team member) is the main/corresponding author or not, as recommended in the ERC Open Access Guidelines.

Q: Is open access to publications mandatory for all ERC grants in FP7?
A:

For FP7 grants resulting from calls in the Work Programmes 2007-2011, there is no formal obligation to provide open access to publications. However, all grantees are strongly encouraged to comply with the ERC Open Access Guidelines. ERC grants resulting from calls in the 2012 and 2013 Work Programmes will normally contain a Special Clause 39 ERC which requires the immediate deposit of all publications related to foreground from the project in a repository for scientific publications. Best efforts must be made to ensure open access to the publication through this repository within six months from publication (and immediately if the publication has been published "open access", i.e. if it is also available free of charge via the publisher.

Q: Are costs related to running an institutional open access repository for publications, which will also be used by ERC grantees for the publications from their project, eligible costs (on a pro-rata basis)?
A:

For ERC projects, such costs will normally not be directly attributable to the project and can thus not be claimed as direct costs. However, they may be considered eligible under indirect costs. For more details, please, consult the section on 'Indirect costs' of the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues (Part 2B, section 1 on article II.15 ECGA, sub-section 2).

Q: Concerning research data that have been generated or collected as part of the ERC project, are costs for their deposit in an open access data repository (run by an external organization) eligible?
A:

Yes, these costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project, and provided that they are in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: An ERC funded researcher publishes a paper with a society publisher that offers large discounts on Open Access fees to its members. Are these membership fees eligible costs?
A:

Yes, if the net effect of taking out a membership in the society is a reduction in the cost of the article processing charges (APCs) that is higher than the cost of the membership fee, then the membership fee (for the year concerned) is an eligible cost, provided that it is in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: An ERC researcher wants to publish in a journal which allows 'green open access' with a six months embargo period. In case the researcher chooses instead 'gold open access' resulting in an article processing charge (APC), will this be an eligible cost?
A:

There is no requirement to use 'green open access' rather than 'gold open access'. If an ERC funded researcher opts for 'gold open access' although 'green open access' would be possible within the maximum acceptable delay of six months, costs related to APCs are still eligible, provided that they have been incurred during the lifetime of the project and that they are in line with the general rules for eligibility of direct costs as described in the Grant Agreement (see Article II.14.1.d of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement, Single and Multi-Beneficiary). If 'gold open access' is chosen, the publication must still be deposited in a repository for scientific publications and open access must be provided immediately to that deposited version (no embargo period).

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, in case of a change of Host Institution, under which conditions does the Host institution have the right to terminate the Grant Agreement as well as the Supplementary Agreement?
A:

In FP7, if the Principal Investigator permanently moves to a third country which is not associated to FP7 and he/she is no longer in the position to continue leading an ERC funded research project, the Host Institution has the right to terminate the Supplementary Agreement with the  Principal Investigator.
The termination of the Supplementary Agreement compels the Host Institution to initiate the procedure of termination for the Grant Agreement.
The termination remains at the discretion of the ERCEA, following an evaluation of the situation on a case-by-case basis. Alternatives to the termination may be considered.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, can expenses linked to the recruitment of project staff (such as relocation expenses, advertising and travel costs to interviews) be considered as recruitment costs?
A:

In principle, it is expected from the host institutions to have the human resources necessary for the action at the start of the project.However, for ERC grants in FP7, recruitment costs may be eligible as direct costs.
To be eligible, expenses linked to the recruitment of project staff have to be in line with the general management practice and rules of the Host Institution/beneficiary and comply with the eligibility criteria of Article II.14 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary), being directly traceable to the ERC project.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, how many hours make a person-month?
A:

For ERC projects under FP7, the number of hours that makes a person-month can vary between different Host Institutions.  Beneficiaries must calculate their specific productive hours according to the general practice in the Host Institution.
In case different categories of personnel have different working conditions, individual productive hours may be calculated. For the calculation method and examples, please refer to Part 2 B, section 1 on art.II.15 of ECGA, sub-section 1.(a), in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues.The benchmark is 1680 hours based on 210 workable days and a 8 hour working day (Guide to financial issues Part 2B, section 1 on article II.15 of ECGA, sub-section 1.(a.2), in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues).

Q: Under FP7, are tuition fees for PhD students working in an ERC project eligible costs?
A:

Academic fees may be due by post-graduate students back to their respective universities. In FP7, sometimes, in cases of work performed by the student for the university, the student may be exempt to pay (part of) the fee. This predetermined income for the university is eligible as personnel cost when there is a labour contract with the student in which the amount is indicated.
The other conditions of Article II.14.1 of the ECGA (Single and Multi-Beneficiary) have to be fulfilled as well.
See also in this regard Part 2B, section 1 on art II.15 ECGA, sub-section 1.(a.4), in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues.

Q: Under FP7, which staff/personnel costs are eligible and therefore covered by the ERC Grant Agreement ? In addition, where should these costs be included?
A:

In FP7, the following costs related to the staff/personnel are covered by the ERC Grant Agreement:                                                                                                                                 - Salary of Principal Investigator:
According to Article II.15.1 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary), the salary costs of the Principal Investigator can be covered by the ERC Grant Agreement. The amount charged can only represent the costs of the actual hours worked by the Principal Investigator on the ERC project (pro-rata to the Principal Investigator's involvement).
- Salary or costs of team members  These costs can  be covered, including for staff of HI   and  from third parties. At the time of the submission of the interim financial reports, costs should be declared for each staff member in the table "breakdown of direct costs" (Annex I to the Grant Agreement).
Any increase of salary (relating to indexations, years of service, steps in grades, increased responsibilities etc.) during the lifetime of a funded project.
However, the maximum contribution to the costs of the project is fixed in the Grant Agreement and cannot be increased (see Article II.18.4 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement, Single and Multi- Beneficiary, and Part 1 on art. 5.1 of ECGA in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues.
- Stipends/ Scholarships: Typically, a scholarship or stipend has the purpose that the awardee works on its own project. However if the person works on an ERC project, stipends or scholarships may be eligible pro rata provided that:• The stipend/scholarship is paid according to the general management and accounting practices of the Host Institution, which awards the stipend to the student.• The beneficiary has a written agreement with the stipend holder defining the work to be carried out on the ERC project and the amount of the stipend to be paid (letter of engagement, contract, or other official document).• The amount can be attributed directly to the project.• The conditions of the stipend/scholarship meet the general eligibility criteria of Article II.14 and Annex II General conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary).• The stipend/scholarship is not being reimbursed by another party.
- Bonus:Bonuses have to comply with all of the following criteria to be eligible:
be provided by internal regulations and/or practices of the organisation (calculation method, category of employees falling under this scheme, maximum amount, etc.);
apply to all projects (EU and non-EU projects, national and international) of the same kind; i.e. the bonus must be given to all international (EU and non EU) or to all national projects;
not result in a level of remuneration inconsistent with the current market conditions for a worker of the same category/grade/experience;
be recorded in the accounts as personnel costs and be subject to taxes and social security charges applicable to salaries or be specifically exempt from such taxes and/or charges;
and, finally, bonuses can only be paid as part of the employee's gross remuneration and only be reimbursed pro-rata according to the time spent on the project (e.g. If the researcher works only part of his/her working hours on the project, then only the part of the bonus related to the remuneration charged to the project will be eligible).
The criteria (qualitative or financial targets, research activities carried out, contractor's profitability, etc.) used to calculate the amount of the bonus can be accepted provided they are of general application within the beneficiary's organisation and are objective. 

Q: Under FP7, can projects that have more than one partner institution be funded by an ERC grant?
A:

Yes, in FP7, multi-beneficiary Grant Agreements are possible.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, if the Principal Investigator goes on maternity / parental leave, does the project need to be suspended?
A:

In FP7, if the Principal Investigator is able to and wants to continue to supervise the project directly during the maternity/parental leave, they can do so, subject to the observance of applicable national law.The Principal Investigator shall inform the ERCEA when they go on maternity / parental leave and whether they intend to require a suspension of the grant for this period. The ERCEA will assess the suspension request.

Q: Under FP7, on what grounds can ERCEA decide to terminate a Grant Agreement?
A:

In FP7, the cases where the ERCEA may terminate the Grant Agreement as per text law are outlined in Article II.35 (Single) and Article II.37 (Multi-Beneficiary) of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement.

Q: Under FP7, what are eligible costs for ERC grants?
A:

Generally, costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary). Costs must be actual, incurred by the beneficiary and according to the usual accounting and management principles and practices of the beneficiary. They must also be identifiable and verifiable.
For more information, see also the rules of the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues.
 
In FP7 ERC grants, the following costs are eligible under certain conditions:
 
- Travel and subsistence allowances:Should the Host Institution use flat rates for the daily subsistence costs, in accordance with the above mentioned rules and if allowed in the respective Work Programme, this should be mentioned in the Description of Work to be considered eligible.
- Meals (lunch/evening) during travels:
If the team member already received a daily allowance for travel expenses from the Host Institution, meals are considered to be covered by this allowance; hence they are not considered eligible.However, if the general practice of the Host Institution is to reimburse costs separately, upon presentation of a receipt, and if costs do not constitute reckless or excessive spending, they can be claimed as direct costs.

- Recruitment of a replacement for a team member on parental leave:
While recruitment costs would generally be covered by the overheads, in the light of ERC's specificity some recruitment costs may be accepted as direct eligible costs if they are: justified, part of the general practice of the Host Institution, clearly attributable to the project, and in line with the general requirements.
 
- Maintenance and repair of equipment, of failures due to the general usage of the equipment:
Any services or other costs related to certain equipment, such as delivery, handling, installation, maintenance or repair of items that are not covered by separate subcontracts, are part of equipment purchase and can be charged accordingly. In case of a separate subcontract for specific services (after-sales service, maintenance), the general rules for subcontracting apply.
 
- Purchase of spare parts:
Spare parts are eligible for funding as long as they meet the general eligibility criteria for consumables.
 
- Payments for patent applications:
Intellectual property activities such as the process of applying for a patent, if complying with all general eligibility requirements are direct eligible costs.

- Travel and other costs for experts and regular visitors: Reimbursement of travel expenses for experts who are not employed by the Host Institution may be considered direct eligible costs to the extent that the general requirements for direct costs are fulfilled and that the participation of these experts/visitors is duly foreseen in the Description of Work.
 
- Scientific text books:
For these costs to be considered eligible, the link between scientific text books and the ERC project needs to be demonstrated for the purchase of these books. Funding must be used for the sole purpose of achieving the objectives of the project and its expected results, in a manner consistent with the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
 
- Translation costs:
Translation costs are not the same as publishing costs and should be included under subcontracting if the translation is to be done by an organisation or person external to the beneficiary.If, however, a set of translators is working directly on the core research funded by the project and under direct instructions and supervision of the Principal Investigator, the costs concerned can be considered as personnel costs under the ERC grant.

- Climate compensation fees in addition to travel/ticket cost:
If by climate compensation fee is meant a sort of ecological tax that is identifiable on the invoice, it is not an eligible cost. However, if the payment of this fee is required by an institution to be paid for every plane ride, they can be eligible if:1/ This cost is an airport tax, which is an ecological charge applicable to all the tickets and mandatory under national legislation. It lies in the responsibility of the beneficiary to prove the "non-tax" nature of the "charge"; or2/ If it is included in the overall price and thereof not identifiable, i.e. it is part of the airline ticket.
 
- Costs charged by journal publishers for the provision of immediate open access to publications (article processing charges - APCs):
These costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the general requirements for all direct costs.

 

In case the journal tallows 'green open access' with an embargo period of six months, but "gold open access" is chosen resulting in an article processing charge (ACP), the cost is still eligible provided that they have been incurred during the lifetime of the project and that they are in line with the general rules for eligibility of direct costs as described in the Grant Agreement.If 'gold open access' is chosen, the publication must still be deposited in a repository for scientific publications and open access must be provided immediately to that deposited version (no embargo period).
 
In case there are several authors, there is no requirement to split open access related costs between the authors. If the costs have been incurred during the lifetime of the project and they are in line with the general requirements for direct costs, then they are eligible in full, regardless of the number of co-authors. However, grantees should consider whether it would be appropriate to ask other authors for a contribution to the costs.
 
If a former team member of an ERC project publishes an article based on his/her work related to the project and wants to provide immediate open access to it by paying an article processing charge to the publisher, this cost can be considered an eligible cost if it incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that it is in line with the general requirements for direct costs.

 
- Open access fees for monographs:
These costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the general requirements for direct costs.
 
- Attendance at Conference Costs:Normally researchers participating in a conference are expected to play an active part, e.g. present a paper or a poster.  As well as the usual documents needed to support the costs claimed (purchase orders, invoices and payment (conference, travel and hotel) and evidence of payments), an auditor would expect to see conference registration and conference agenda with names and roles. 
As a best practice it is recommended that a small note is produced by the researcher describing his/her role and the link to the project.
 
 - Costs for management of the project:
Management costs directly linked to the project and respecting the general eligibility criteria can be considered as direct eligible costs.See also Article 33.4 of the FP7 Rules of participation.
However, management costs such as administrative, technical or logistical costs are cross-cutting costs for all operations of the beneficiary and cannot be attributed in full to the project. These costs should be covered by the 20% flat rate of indirect costs.

- Membership fees of society publisher:
If the net effect of taking out a membership in the society is a reduction in the cost of the article processing charges (APCs) that is higher than the cost of the membership fee, then the membership fee (for the year concerned) is an eligible cost, provided that it is in line with the general requirements for direct costs.
 
- Costs for the deposit of research data in an open access data repository (run by an external organization):
Yes, these costs are eligible if they generated or collected as part of an ERC project and provided that they are in line with the general requirements for direct costs.

 
- Consumables for people formally not paid by an ERC grant (e.g. undergraduate students) :
They are eligible as long as they can be attributed directly to a project and are identifiable by the Host Institution as such, in accordance with its accounting principles and its general internal rules (i.e. there is a proven track record of each consumed amount).
 
- Redundancy payments:
Employment-related costs and termination/redundancy payments are considered eligible costs as long as they are in accordance with the usual accounting practice of the beneficiary, are fair and justified and recognised by national law. It is the Host Institution's duty to foresee possible project changes and include corresponding provisions in the (employment) contract. The ERCEA will examine each case individually.

Q: In FP7 (ERC), if the Host Institution requests the reimbursement of the Principal Investigator's salary for less time that s(he) actually spent on the project, should the timesheet reflect the hours to be charged or the actual hours worked on the grant?
A:

In FP7, the Host Institution cannot charge more costs than the reimbursement for the time the Principal Investigator actually worked on the project, but it can charge less.
In such a case, timesheets should record the actual hours worked on the project for auditing purposes but it should be made clear in the breakdown table or in the explanatory text of the financial report that total actual hours worked were X but the charged hours are only X-Y.The hourly rate should be calculated based on the total hours (and not only based on the charged hours).
In brief, time charged to the project can always be less (but not more) than indicated in the timesheets.

Q: Under FP7, if a Principal Investigator's salary is not charged to the ERC grant, is (s)he expected to keep time records?
A:

Although in principle Principal Investigators do not need to keep time records if their salary is not charged to an FP7 ERC grant, they should be able to provide evidence of their compliance with the time commitment requirements provided in the corresponding Work Programme (see ERC Work Programmes here).

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, is the use of timesheets mandatory?
A:

In FP7, costs of actual hours worked should be substantiated by a time recording system or by alternative evidence providing the same level of reliability as to the reality, accuracy and completeness of the information provided, to allow auditors to verify the financial reports.If a person works 100% on a project and has a contract to this effect, in the absence of timesheets, other appropriate and sufficient alternative evidence to support the declared work arrangements should be provided, provided that it is compliant with the usual practices of the beneficiary.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, is there a minimum time to be spent on the office premises by the staff recruited for the project so that staff costs are eligible?
A:

For FP7 projects, the time necessary to be spent in the office by the staff recruited for the project depends on the rules of the Host Institution and the applicable national legislation. However, according to Article II.15.1 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreements (Single and Multi-Beneficiary), only the costs of the actual hours worked by the persons directly carrying out work under the project can be charged.

Q: Under FP7, can a retired researcher be paid out of an ERC grant? Which form can the payment take?
A:

In FP7, payments for retired researchers can be charged to the project if they are in line with applicable national law and practice, as well as with the specific rules applicable to and in the Host Institution.
Costs must also be compliant with the eligibility criteria of Article II.14 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary).
The payments should be made via the Human Resources Payroll system.

Q: Are the open access related rules that apply to ERC grantee any different from those that apply to researchers funded under the rest of Horizon 2020?
A:

Indeed, although most of the rules applicable to other researchers funded under Horizon 2020 also apply in the same way to researchers funded by the ERC, there are a number of differences. In particular, in the case of the ERC the open access obligations described in Article 29.2 of the Model Grant Agreement apply not only to articles in scientific journals, but also to long-text publications such as monographs, edited volumes, or book chapters.
An overview of the open access related rules for ERC funded researchers can be found on the ERC website. Note that Article 29.2 of the ERC Model Grant Agreement is slightly different from the corresponding article in the general Horizon 2020 Model Grant Agreement. Details on the application of the article to ERC grants can be found in the ERC specific part of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement.

Q: What type of feedback will I be receiving during and after the evaluation of my proposal submitted to the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call?
A:

During each step of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 evaluation, the two main elements of the proposal (Principal Investigator and research project) will be evaluated and rated. At the end of each evaluation step the proposals will be ranked by the panels on the basis of the marks they have received and on the panels' overall appreciation of each proposal's strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of Step 1 of the evaluation, on the basis of the assessment of Part B1 of the proposal, applicants will be informed that their proposal:
A. is of sufficient quality to pass to Step 2 of the evaluation;
B. is of high quality but not sufficient to pass to Step 2 of the evaluation; or
C. is not of sufficient quality to pass to Step 2 of the evaluation.
 
At the end of Step 2 of the evaluation, on the basis of the assessment of the full proposal, applicants will be informed that their proposal either:
A. fully meets the ERC's excellence criterion and is recommended for funding if sufficient funds are available; or
B. meets some but not all elements of the ERC's excellence criterion and will not be funded.
 
More information on the results of the peer review evaluation can be found at section 3.7 of the ERC Rules for Submission and Evaluation.
Applicants may also be subject to restrictions on submitting proposals to future ERC calls based on the outcome of the evaluation. Applicants will need to check the restrictions in place for each call (see restrictions on submission of proposals under 'Eligibility criteria'of the ERC Work Programme 2018).
In addition, once the evaluation of their proposal has been completed, applicants will receive an evaluation report which will include the ranking range of their proposal out of the proposals evaluated by the panel (for more details, see Information for applicants to the Starting and Consolidator Grant 2018 Calls).

More information on the evaluation procedure can also be found in the ERC Work Programme 2018 section relevant to the call.

Q: Should the applicant provide the names and the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the team members in the proposal for the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call?
A:

The CVs of individual team members should not be included. Although, it is not mandatory to provide the names of individual team members, the proposal should describe the composition of the team that will carry out the proposed activities.
Further explanations can be found in the Information for the applicants of the Starting and Consolidator 2018 Grants.
 

Q: Do peer reviewers receive all parts of a proposal in the case of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call?
A:

For the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018, Step 1 of the peer review evaluation process is based only on the extended synopsis, the Principal Investigator's CV and the track record (Part B1 only), and peer reviewers do not have access to the full scientific proposal. At Step 2, the peer reviewers base their assessment on the complete version of the retained proposals, including the full scientific proposal (Part B2).
For more information on the evaluation process, please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2018 (section 'Evaluation procedure and criteria').
 

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call, is a Principal Investigator holding a Master Degree and no PhD entitled to apply to this call?
A:

No, according to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, the Principal Investigator must have been awarded a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree to be eligible. First-professional degrees will not be considered in themselves as PhD-equivalent, even if recipients carry the title "Doctor".
For more information, please, consult the ERC policy on PhD and equivalent doctoral degrees in the ERC Work Programme 2018, Annex 2.
 

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call, for medical doctors who hold both a medical doctor degree and a PhD, which degree will be taken into consideration for the calculation of the eligibility window?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, for medical doctors who have been awarded both a medical doctor degree and a PhD, the date of the earliest degree that makes the applicant eligible takes precedence in the calculation of the eligibility time-window (7-12 years after the date of award of the PhD or 9-14 years past the medical doctor degree completion for Consolidators).
For more information, please, consult the ERC policy on PhD and equivalent doctoral degrees in the ERC Work Programme 2018 – Annex 2.
 

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call, what degrees are considered equivalent to a PhD?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, in order to be eligible to apply a Principal Investigator must have been awarded a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree. It is recognised that in certain fields some other doctoral titles have the same status and represent variants of the PhD. All of them have similar content requirements. These cases will be examined individually, as part of the ERCEA's decision on eligibility. First professional degrees will not be considered in themselves as PhD-equivalent, even if mentioning the title "Doctor".
For more information, please, consult the ERC policy on PhD and equivalent doctoral degrees in the ERC Work Programme 2018 - Annex 2.
 

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call, is a Medical Doctor degree equivalent to a PhD degree?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, for medical doctors (or applicants holding a degree in medicine), a medical doctor degree will not be accepted by itself as equivalent to a PhD award. To be considered an eligible Principal Investigator, medical doctors (or applicants holding a degree in medicine) need to provide the certificates of both a medical doctor degree and a PhD or proof of an appointment that requires doctoral equivalency (e.g. post-doctoral fellowship, professorship appointment). Additionally, candidates must also provide information on their research experience (including peer reviewed publications) in order to further substantiate the equivalence of their overall training to a PhD. In these cases, the certified date of the medical doctor degree completion plus two years is the time reference for calculation of the eligibility time-window (i.e. 9-14 years past the medical doctor degree for Consolidators).
For more information, see section 'Eligibility criteria' of the ERC Work Programme 2018.
 

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call, what will happen if the PhD certificate is not submitted together with the proposal?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, as long as no PhD document or equivalent is uploaded in the Participant Portal Submission Service, it will not be possible to validate/submit the proposal. A warning message will inform the applicant of the missing document. If another document is uploaded instead and the PhD certificate is finally missing in the proposal, the proposal is not eligible and will not be evaluated.
For more information, see section 'Eligibility criteria' of the ERC Work Programme 2018 .

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) call, which is the date to be considered for the granting of the PhD (or equivalent degree)?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, the reference date for calculating the eligibility period should be the date of the actual award according to the national rules in the country where the degree was awarded.
In the case of applicants having been awarded several PhDs, the reference date is the award date of the first PhD.
For more information, see section 'Eligibility criteria' of the ERC Work Programme 2018.
 

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-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 2018 call, eligible career breaks that can be considered for the extension of the eligibility window are:- Maternity or paternity leave,
- Long-term illness (over ninety days for the Principal Investigator - PI - or a close family member),
- Clinical training,
- National service.
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 2018.

Q: Must the Principal Investigator applying for an ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 (ERC-2018-CoG) choose the appropriate ERC peer review evaluation panel for his/her proposal?
A:

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2018 call, the applicant must choose a primary evaluation panel and may also indicate a secondary evaluation panel. They should indicate when they believe that their proposal is of a cross-panel or cross-domain nature. In most cases the proposal will be evaluated by the primary panel indicated by the applicant. However, if the scope of a proposal does not correspond to the expertise of the primary panel, the proposal can be reallocated to another panel, if the panel chairs of the original and the new panel unanimously agree to do so.
Further explanations can be found in the Information for the applicants of the Starting and Consolidator 2018 Grants. The primary panel structure and description is also described in Annex 1 of the ERC Work Programme 2018.
 

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, can the Principal Investigator sign timesheets for him/herself?
A:

A Principal Investigator should not validate his/her own timesheet because the person validating a timesheet should have an independent view of the work of the Principal Investigator within the Host Institution (e.g. the Principal Investigator's hierarchical superior).

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, does the Principal Investigator need to dedicate an equal proportion of his/her working time each year to the project?
A:

Under FP7, the Principal Investigator is not obliged to spend an equal amount of his/her working time each year on the project, as long as the distribution is in line with achieving the scientific objectives of the project. However, ERCEA encourages an even distribution throughout the duration of the project. Any special time arrangements need to be agreed with the ERCEA beforehand.Timesheets or other means of proof must reflect the actual productive hours spent on the project.

Q: Is it possible to apply to an ERC 2018 frontier research grant call if the same Principal Investigator (PI) has already applied to another ERC 2018 frontier research grant call?
A:

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 2018, page 19 - 20). Example: If a PI applies to the ERC 2018 Advanced (AdG) call, his/her proposal will not be evaluated if he/she had already applied to the ERC 2018 Starting (StG), Consolidator (CoG) or Synergy (SyG) call and the proposal was considered eligible for any of these calls, even if the call deadlines are in different calendar years (e.g. deadline in 2017 for the StG, CoG or SyG 2018 calls and deadline in 2018 for the AdG 2018 call).  The year in the ERC call ID refers to the relevant ERC Work Programme year (e.g. the call "ERC-2018-SyG" belongs to the ERC Work Programme 2018).

Q: May a Principal Investigator (PI) whose proposal was evaluated as category A or category B at step 2 in an ERC 2017 call [Starting (StG)/Consolidator (CoG)/Advanced (AdG)] submit a proposal to an ERC 2018 call (StG/CoG/AdG) or Synergy (SyG) call?
A:

Yes, a Principal Investigator (PI) whose proposal was evaluated as category A or category B at step 2 in the 2017 Starting (StG), Consolidator (CoG) or Advanced (AdG) calls may submit a proposal to the 2018 calls.

Q: According to the conditions applied to the ERC 2018 frontier research grants, can a researcher participate as Principal Investigator in more than 1 proposal at the same time? Is it possible to receive funding for more than 1 participation in such case?
A:

According to the conditions applied to the ERC frontier research Grants 2018 (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced, Synergy, there are three main restrictions to be considered for Principal Investigators in this regard:
A Principal Investigator may submit proposals to different ERC frontier research grant calls published under the same Work Programme, but only the first eligible proposal will be evaluated.
A researcher may participate as Principal Investigator [Including all Principal Investigators supported under the Synergy Grant in ERC Work Programmes 2012 – 2013] in only one ERC frontier research project at any one time [NB A new frontier research project can only start after the duration of the project fixed in a previous frontier research grant agreement has ended.]
A researcher participating as Principal Investigator in an ERC frontier research project may not submit a proposal for another ERC frontier research grant, unless the existing project ends no more than two years after the call deadline. [NB: This is according to the duration of the project fixed in the previous frontier research grant agreement]
These restrictions are specified in the ERC Work Programme 2018 and may be modified in future work programmes by the ERC Scientific Council in light of experience.
As a team member, it is possible to participate in more than one ERC grant.

Q: According to the conditions applied to the ERC 2018 frontier research Grants 2018 [Starting (StG)/Consolidator (CoG)/Advanced (AdG)/Synergy (SyG)], can a Principal Investigator (PI) cover this role in more than one proposal at the same time?
A:

According to the conditions applied to the ERC 2018 frontier research Grants, there are three main restrictions to be considered for Principal Investigators (PIs) in this regard:
A PI may submit proposals to different ERC frontier research Grant calls made under the same Work Programme, but only the first eligible proposal will be evaluated.
A researcher may participate as PI or Co-Investigator in only one ERC frontier research project at any one time (NB: A new frontier research project can only start after the duration of the project fixed in a previous frontier research grant agreement has ended).
A researcher participating as PI in an ERC frontier research project may not submit a proposal for another ERC frontier research grant, unless the existing project ends no more than two years after the call deadline (NB: This is according to the duration of the project fixed in the previous frontier research grant agreement).
These restrictions are specified in the ERC Work Programme 2018 and may be modified in future Work Programmes by the ERC Scientific Council in light of experience.
As a team member, it is possible to participate in more than one ERC Grant.

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 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 the "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 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 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 ERC-2018-AdG call?
A:

When applying to the ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2018 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 2018 or the Information for Applicants to the Advanced Grants 2018 call.

Q: Can a researcher who is nearing retirement apply to the call ERC-2018-Advanced Grant (AdG) call?
A:

Yes, an experienced researcher is welcome to apply to the ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2018 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 2018, 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 2018 or the Information for Applicants to the Advanced Grant call.

Q: Are only PhD holders allowed to apply to the ERC-2018-Advanced Grant (ADG) call?
A:

No, a PhD is not formally required to submit a proposal to the ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2018 call. As specified in the ERC Work Programme 2018, 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 2018, or the Information for Applicants relevant for the call.

Q: If a researcher has less than ten years of research experience, can (s)he apply to the ERC 2018 Advanced Grant (AdG) call?
A:

A Principal Investigator can apply for an ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2018 call even if (s)he does not yet have ten years of research experience. However, applicants for the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant are expected to be active and established research leaders and have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years which must be presented in the application. The emphasis lies on recent outstanding research results which are not older than 10 years.
For more information on the expected profile of the Advanced Grant applicant, please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2018 or the Information for Applicants to the Advanced Grant call.

Q: Can a Principal Investigator whose proposal was submitted to the 2016 or 2017 ERC frontier research grants call and evaluated at the end of Step 1 as of insufficient quality to pass to Step 2 (C category), submit an application for the ERC 2018 AdG call?
A:

No, a Principal Investigator whose proposal was evaluated as category C in the step 1 Starting (StG), Consolidator (CoG) or Advanced (AdG) Grant calls for proposals under ERC Work Programme 2016 and 2017 may not submit a proposal to the ADG call for proposals made under Work Programme 2018
For more information, please refer to the restrictions on submission of proposals in the ERC Work Programme 2018.

Q: According to the conditions of the ERC-2018-Advanced Grant (ADG) call, can a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) qualify as Host Institution (HI) to support an ERC project?
A:

Yes. Any SME (as defined by Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC) can be a Host Institution for an ERC grant as long as it meets the conditions of eligibility of the Host Institution laid down in the ERC Work Programme 2018. The Principal Investigator decides in which Host Institution (s)he would like to implement the proposed project.

Q: Call ERC-2018-ADG: Can a Principal Investigator simultaneously engaged part-time by 2 different research organisations and leading a research group at both apply for an ERC AdG grant with both research groups executing the proposed project as one team?
A:

Yes, according to the conditions of the ERC Advanced Grant 2018 call, this is possible as long as the Principal Investigator is supported by one of the two research organisations as Host Institution (applicant legal entity) for the full duration of the grant (see the ERC Work Programme 2018). Other research organisation(s), the location of additional team members, should be referred to as (an) additional partner(s) in the research proposal (Part B) and their details should be given in the administrative proposal submission form in the Participant Portal Submission Service.

Q: Can a Principal Investigator who holds a permanent position in a research organisation in the US, apply to the call ERC-2018-ADG, with a Host Institution located in Europe?
A:

Yes, a Principal Investigator engaged in the US or in a third country, can apply for an ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2018, as long as (s)he will be engaged and hosted by a Host Institution based in an EU Member State or an Associated Country for the whole duration of the grant (see the ERC Work Programme 2018 for the eligibility conditions).
Principal Investigators funded through the ERC Advanced Grants have to spend a minimum of 50% of their total working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country and a minimum of 30% of their total working time on the ERC project (see the ERC Work Programme 2018 for the Advanced Grant Profile).