75% of projects funded by the ERC have resulted in scientific breakthroughs or major advances, according to a new independent review. This result is in line with three previous evaluations, and demonstrates the top quality of the research funded by the ERC.
The European Research Council carries out annual analyses of finalised ERC projects, in order to monitor the impact of the research it supports. In the 2018 exercise, published today, a total of 225 ERC projects were evaluated by independent peer-review panels. 16% of projects were assessed as having made a scientific contribution, and 59% as major scientific advance. Taken together, 75% of the projects demonstrate the high potential of the curiosity-driven research funded by the European Research Council. The outcome is consistent with three previous studies, in which 72%, 73% and 79% of projects were evaluated as breakthrough or major advances.
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To carry out this review, 25 peer-review panels evaluated 225 completed ERC projects funded under the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The projects were randomly chosen from a pool of 631 projects completed two years prior to the study, in all three ERC scientific domains – Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Physical Sciences and Engineering.
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 in Europe. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to work in Europe.
To date, the ERC has funded around 9,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers. It offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants.
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, part of Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.