Consolidator Grants: ERC unleashes €627m in grants to fuel excellent research across Europe
23 November 2023
Consolidator Grants 2023

Out of 2,130 candidates, the European Research Council (ERC) has selected 308 researchers for this year’s Consolidator Grants. The funding will support excellent scientists and scholars at the career stage where they may still be consolidating their own independent research teams to pursue their most promising scientific ideas. Worth in total €627 million, the grants are part of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. 

Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the brilliant researchers who have been selected for ERC Consolidator Grants. I'm especially thrilled to note the significant increase in the representation of women among the winners for the third consecutive year in this prestigious grant competition. This positive trend not only reflects the outstanding contributions of women researchers but also highlights the strides we are making towards a more inclusive and diverse scientific community.

 President of the European Research Council Prof. Maria Leptin said:

The new Consolidator Grant winners represent some of the best of European research. It is disappointing that we cannot support every deserving project simply due to budget constraints; around 100 proposals identified as excellent in our rigorous evaluation will be left unfunded. Can Europe afford to let such talent go unrealised? We need to collectively advocate for increased investment in research and innovation. Our shared goal must be to ensure that no brilliant idea goes unfunded in Europe, and no promising career is left unfulfilled.

 The grants will support scientific projects spanning all disciplines of research from engineering to life sciences to humanities. For example, an anthropologist in Germany will study disinformation on small social networking platforms beyond Big Tech; a researcher in Portugal will look into the changes affecting the immune system as people age; a statistician in the Netherlands aims to bring insights into how the brain learns to improve the efficiency of artificial intelligence; and a  legal scholar in human rights in Denmark will investigate the increasing use of mercenaries in armed conflicts around the world.  

Women won 39% of grants in this competition, highest ever share for Consolidator Grants. The laureates of this grant competition will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 22 EU Member States and other countries associated with Horizon Europe. Among the EU countries, the highest numbers of grants will be located in Germany (66 projects), Netherlands (36), France (23) and Spain (23). There are nationals of 43 countries among the winners of this call, notably Germans (56 researchers), Italians (36) and Dutch (27). The grants will create around 1,800 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and other staff at the host institutions.  

 The statistics and list of successful candidates are provisional. The European Commission and the UK Government have reached an agreement in principle on the association of the UK to Horizon Europe. This means that the UK will be formally associated to Horizon Europe as of 1 January 2024 and that the association would apply only for award procedures implementing 2024 budget and onwards. Entities established in the UK can continue to apply to Horizon Europe grant award procedures funded from budget appropriations of year 2023 but they will not be covered by the association of the UK to Horizon Europe and thus they will not be eligible to receive EU funding. For this and other calls from the 2023 Work Programme, the transitional arrangement applies and the recommended for funding UK-based applicants may receive EU funding if they choose to transfer their proposal to an eligible Host Institution. 

 About the ERC 

 The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept Grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Iliana Ivanova.