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31-01-2017

Hundred thirty-three ERC grantees are bringing the results of their frontier research closer to the market thanks to Proof of Concept grants, awarded in three rounds of competition in 2016. The winners of the last round have been announced today. They will receive top-up funding to explore the innovation potential of their ERC-funded discoveries.

The grants will support projects covering a wide array of subjects from the new technology to harvest water from fog in arid areas in Greece, to neuroprotective stroke therapy developed in the Netherlands, to web-based service to diagnose impaired speech in Germany. See more examples.  

On this occasion, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

Through Horizon 2020, and the ERC in particular, we use EU funding to push the frontiers of science and knowledge. The Proof of Concept scheme is an instrument that encourages and accelerates the transition from the lab to successfully marketed technologies and goods.  It helps Europe to spread the ideas and help them diffuse from top researchers to the industry and the society."  

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: "The ERC is about supporting frontier research. Through the Proof of Concept scheme the ERC Scientific Council considered appropriate to provide additional funding to researchers who want to connect their research to possible applications. Projects winning a Proof of Concept grant are a perfect showcase of how research and innovation, the lab and the market or society at large can be linked, pushing the frontiers of science and ultimately making science impact the life of citizens."


The Proof of Concept grants, worth €150,000 each, can be used for example to establish intellectual property rights, investigate business opportunities or conduct technical validation. The scheme is open to ERC grant holders only. The grantees can apply for funding in one of the three rounds of the yearly call.

Background 

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It offers three core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator and Advanced. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. To date, the ERC has funded around 7,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers. With its Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC also 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. The ERC President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The ERC has a budget of over €13 billion for the years 2014 to 2020 and is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.