Have you already received an ERC grant for your frontier research project and now want to explore the commercial or societal potential of your work? The ERC Proof of Concept Grant could be for you.
Who can apply?
All Principal Investigators in an ERC frontier research project, that is either on going or has ended less than 12 months before 1 January 2020, are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the relation between the idea to be taken to proof of concept and the ERC frontier research project (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy) in question.
What proposals are eligible?
The ERC Proof of Concept funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.
The activities to be funded shall draw substantially on this scientifically excellent ERC-funded research. However the additional funding is not aimed at extending the original research or predominantly concerned with overcoming obstacles to practical application.
The funding will cover activities at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial or socially valuable proposition, i.e. the initial steps of pre-competitive development.
The funding can be used to:
- Establish viability, technical issues and overall direction
- Clarify intellectual property rights position and strategy
- Provide feedback for budgeting and other forms of commercial discussion
- Provide connections to later stage funding
- Cover initial expenses for establishing a company
The project must be conducted in a public or private research organisation (known as a Host Institution/HI).
The Host Institution must engage the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the Proof of Concept project. Legally the Host Institution must be based in one of the EU Member States or one of the Associated Countries.
Notice for UK applicants: The Withdrawal Agreement foresees that the UK will continue to participate in the current 2014-2020 EU programmes, including ERC Grants, as if the UK was an EU Member State until the closure of the programmes. This means that UK beneficiaries can continue to take part in grants awarded under the current Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) until their end date, even if it is after 2020.
See also the general notice for UK applicants.
Work Programme 2020 will continue to pilot the award of Proof of Concept grants on the basis of a lump sum of EUR 150 000. The ERC has started piloting the use of Lump Sums for the ERC-2019-PoC call, as a simplified funding mode for PoC. This will test efficiency and viability of such funding method compared to the current funding mode which is based on the declaration of actual costs.: The financial contribution will be awarded as a lump sum of € 150 000 for a period of 18 months.
More than one Proof of Concept Grant may be awarded per ERC funded frontier research project but only one Proof of Concept project may be running at any one time for the same ERC frontier research project.
How to apply?
The calls are published once a year with three cut-off dates, a Principal Investigator may submit only one eligible application per call. Applications can be submitted at any time from the opening date of the call until the final deadline and will be evaluated and selected in three rounds, based on the cut-off dates.
For an ERC grant application to be complete, it needs to include the administrative forms, the proposal and the supplementary documents. The completed proposal should be submitted by the specified closing date.
Calls are published on this page, the European Commission’s Funding and Tenders Portal and in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The Proof of Concept projects to be funded will have arisen from scientifically excellent ERC-funded research that has already been subject to rigorous peer review.
The grant will be evaluated on the basis of three evaluation criteria:
1. Excellence in Innovation potential: Proposals will have to demonstrate that the proposed Proof of Concept activity could greatly help move the output of research towards the initial steps of pre-commercialisation or social innovation.
2. Impact: The proposed Proof of Concept is expected to generate effects or benefits to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services.
3. Quality and efficiency of the implementation (Quality of the Proof of Concept plan): The proposed Proof of Concept is based on a sound approach for establishing technical and commercial feasibility of the project.
Reviewers will evaluate independently each eligible proposal and mark it as “very good”, “good” or “fail” for each of the three evaluation criteria.
In order to be considered for funding, proposals will have to be awarded a pass mark (”very good” or “good”) by a majority of independent experts on each of the three evaluation criteria.
NEW submission forms templates specific for the new ERC-2020-PoC Lump Sum Pilot call are available here.
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