ERC plans for 2020: More than €2.2 billion for Europe's excellent researchers
02 July 2019
Cover image of ERC plans for 2020: More than €2.2 billion for Europe's excellent researchers

The ERC is today announcing its biggest ever annual injection of funding in blue-sky research. €2.2 billion will be made available in 2020 to support some 1,100 top researchers. As in previous years, most of the funding (61%) is earmarked for early- to mid-career scientists and scholars. The funding will in also support jobs for an estimated 8,000 postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and other research staff employed in ERC-funded teams.

Established by the ERC Scientific Council, the work programme for the coming year has been adopted today by the European Commission.

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented:
I am pleased that the ERC 2020 Work Programme will allow for funding the research of over a thousand excellent scientists who believe that Europe is the best place to follow their scientific curiosity. However, our continent hosts much more top talent with a wealth of creative ideas to bring to life. If Europe is serious about being a real powerhouse for science and innovation, major investment in R&I is needed, notably in blue sky research via the European Research Council.”

Besides adjustments to the recently re-introduced Synergy Grant, the ERC Scientific Council decided to align the ceilings of the amounts that applicants can request to cover extraordinary costs exceeding the normal grant ceilings of Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants. Previously, Advanced Grant applicants could request up to €1 million in additional funding, while Starting and Consolidator Grant applicants could request up to €500 000 and €750 000 respectively. The ceiling is now €1 million for all of the three grants, while it remains €4 million for Synergy Grant. This decision aims to better reflect the actual costs of doing research across scientific disciplines especially when it comes to major experimental and field work costs.

How and when to apply for ERC grants

The work programme published today includes a tentative calendar of grant competitions. The Starting Grant call is scheduled to open on 17 July 2019, and the Synergy Grant call on 18 July 2019. [calendar]

Read the Work Programme.

About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. It offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced 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.

To date, the ERC has funded over 9,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. Key global research funding bodies, in the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries, have concluded special agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees' teams.

The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. The ERC's President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 is more than €13 billion, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.

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