The Scientific Council has the responsibility of establishing the overall strategy of the ERC, including through the annual ERC Work Programmes and by determining the methods and procedures for peer review and proposal evaluation. The Scientific Council may set up, from amongst its 22 members, Standing Committees, Working Groups and other structures addressing specific tasks in practice and in accordance with its Rules of Procedure (Article 6 (1)).

The Mid Term Review Report on the European Research Council's Structures and Mechanisms (Towards a world class frontier research organization) recommended the setting up of two subcommittees to deal with conflict of interest issues and to steer and control the selection of Reviewers and panellists. In October 2009 at its 22nd plenary meeting a Decision of the Scientific Council established two Standing Committees dedicated to these specific topics: