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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?

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: In some countries, 'habilitation' is a scientific degree awarded to formally acknowledge the achievement of research independence. Are holders of this degree eligible to apply to the ERC Consolidator Grant 2017?

According to the conditions of the ERC Consolidator Grant 2017 call, there is no eligibility restriction to holders of a 'habilitation'. The reference date used for calculation of the applicant's eligibility is the PhD award date or medical doctor degree award date. 

For more information please consult the ERC policy on PhD and equivalent doctoral degrees in the ERC Work Programme 2017, Annex 2.

Q: ERC- 2017 PoC: Can an applicant submit to the ERC Proof of Concept call and also submit a proposal to one of the 3 main ERC Frontier Research calls (StG, CoG or AdG)?

Yes, an applicant can submit to the ERC Proof of Concept 2017 call and at the same time to one of the 3 main ERC frontier research calls (since the restrictions stated in the ERC Work Programme 2017 do not apply to Proof of Concept grants).

Q: For a ERC 2017 Proof of Concept (PoC) grant, is it preferable to have a project of 12 or of 18 months?

Where an ERC PoC proposal has initially indicated a duration of 12 months, during grant preparation Principal Investigators (PIs) are usually advised to go for a longer timespan (18 months) just in order to cope with eventual delays and always finish the ERC PoC project in an acceptable period of time, although the final decision will be with the PI. The reason is that under H2020, extensions of duration to PoC projects are typically not granted once the project has started. It should also be noted that in case a PI opts for the 18 months duration, but the project’s activities are finished within 12 months (or any other month before the 18th), the costs cannot be claimed for reimbursement immediately, but the PI will have to wait until the contractual end of the Grant in order to submit the Final Reports and cost claims (Article 20 of the GA).

More information can be found in the H2020 Model Grant Agreements for ERC Proof of Concept grants:

ERC POC mono-beneficiary MGA

ERC POC multi-beneficiary MGA


Q: For a European Research Council (ERC) 2017 Proof of Concept (PoC) grant, are timesheets needed for the Principal Investigator?

Yes, the time sheets are needed if the PI charges salary to the ERC PoC action. All team members for which personnel costs are being charged should maintain timesheets of the hours worked on the project. See also Article 18.1 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement.

Q: For the European Research Council (ERC) 2017 Proof of Concept (PoC) call, what is the general rule of Principal Investigator commitment?

Although there is no minimum commitment percentage regarding the time that the Principal Investigator (PI) is required to work on the action, in the grant agreement the PI must enter a minimum of their working time, as the PI is responsible for managing the ERC PoC project. The cumulative percentage commitment that the PI spends on the ERC PoC action and on the main ERC StG/CoG/AdG grant (if still ongoing) must not exceed 100%.For more information please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2017.

Q: ERC-2017-PoC: In a Proof of Concept proposal, can the related costs for establishing a company (i.e. accountant, notary) be considered eligible?

Yes, the related costs for establishing a company (i.e. accountant, notary) could be considered eligible, but only if the establishment of the company happens during the duration of the project and only if there is a need to bring a product on the market. The establishment of the company should not be an end in itself, it must be a mean to an end.Hence, either the POC project will bring a finished product on the market (and this result will happen during the project lifetime), or the cost of establishing the company is not eligible. As this result can hardly be planned in advance, it would be advisable not to include this type of costs in the budget.

Q: ERC 2017 PoC: Can a Co-investigator from a 2008-2011 European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant call be eligible to submit a ERC PoC proposal as Principal Investigator (PI)?

No, Co-investigators (Co PI) are not eligible for an ERC Proof of Concept grant.

Only Principal Investigators (PI) in Research main grants (ERC Starting, Consolidator or Advanced grants), as well as PI and corresponding PI of Synergy grants are eligible to submit a proposal to the ERC Proof of Concept Call.

More information on the eligibility criteria for the Principal Investigator can be found in the ERC_Work_Programme_2017, section relevant to the call.

Q: ERC 2017 PoC: Can a spin-off company be the Host Institution for an ERC PoC proposal?

Yes, submitting an application with a spin-off company as Host Institution is feasible, as long as it complies with the eligibility criteria defined in the ERC Work Programme 2017.

The Host Insitution (HI) of the ERC Proof of Concept proposal does not have to be the same as the Host Institution of the main frontier research grant.

Q: ERC 2017 PoC: What are the reporting requirements for an ERC Proof of Concept grant?

In the ERC Proof of Concept grants, given the shorter length, the project report is required only once, at the end of the project, and will combine the technical and financial aspects in one single document.Article 20 of the H2020 ERC Proof of Concept Grant Agreement defines the reporting requirements. 

The ERC POC report must be prepared and submitted online via the Participant Portal.