Proof of Concept

If, as a receiver of an ERC grant, you are interested in exploring the innovation potential of your work, the ERC is here to help.

ERC Proof of Concept Grants are designed to support ERC grantees with the commercial or societal application of the results of their funded research. 

ERC Proof of Concept in brief

  • Eligibility: all Principal Investigators in an ERC frontier research project, that is either on going or has ended less than 12 months before 1 January 2017, are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the relation between the idea to be taken to proof of concept and the ERC frontier research project (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy) in question.
  • Funding: up to € 150.000 per grant
    More than one Proof of Concept Grant may be awarded per ERC funded frontier research project but only one Proof of Concept project may be running at any one time for the same ERC frontier research project.
  • Duration: up to 18 months
  • Calls for proposals: published once a year with three deadlines, a Principal Investigator may submit only one eligible application per call. Applications can be submitted at any time from the opening date of the call until the final deadline and will be evaluated and selected in three rounds, based on three specific deadlines.

Bridging the gap between research and a marketable innovation

The type of high-risk/high-gain research at the frontiers of knowledge that the ERC promotes often generates unexpected or new opportunities for commercial and societal applications. The ERC is committed to ensure the full exploitation of the excellent, useful ideas it funds. The Proof of Concept funding helps ERC grant-holders bridge the gap between their research and the earliest stage of a marketable innovation.

For ERC grant holders only

The ERC Proof of Concept funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.

The activities to be funded shall draw substantially on this scientifically excellent ERC-funded research. However the additional funding is not aimed at extending the original research or predominantly concerned with overcoming obstacles to practical application.
The funding will cover activities at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial or socially valuable proposition, i.e. the initial steps of pre-competitive development.

The funding can be used to:

  • Establish viability, technical issues and overall direction
  • Clarify intellectual property rights position and strategy
  • Provide feedback for budgeting and other forms of commercial discussion
  • Provide connections to later stage funding
  • Cover initial expenses for establishing a company

How will proposals be assessed?

The Proof of Concept projects to be funded will have arisen from scientifically excellent ERC-funded research that has already been subject to rigorous peer review.

The grant will be evaluated on the basis of three evaluation criteria

1. Excellence (Innovation potential): Proposals will have to demonstrate that the proposed Proof of Concept activity could greatly help move the output of research towards the initial steps of pre-commercialisation.

2. Impact: The proposed Proof of Concept is expected to generate economic and /or societal benefits.

3. Quality and efficiency of the implementation (Quality of the Proof of Concept plan):  The proposed Proof of Concept is based on a sound approach for establishing technical and commercial feasibility of the project.


For questions

Applicants are invited to contact their National Contact Point or send their queries to the Enquiry Service or directly to the mailbox.