Frequently asked questions

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Yes, under the ERC 2023 Proof of Concept (ERC-2023-PoC) call, submitting an application with a spin-off company as Host Institution (HI) is feasible, as long as it complies with the eligibility criteria for an eligible HI defined in the ERC Work Programme 2023. The HI of the ERC Proof of Concept (PoC) proposal does not have to be the same as the HI of the main frontier research Grant.

Under the ERC Proof of Concept (ERC-2023-PoC) Grant call, given the shorter length (in comparison to ERC main Frontier Research Grants), the project report is required only once, at the end of the project, and will combine the technical and financial aspects in one single document. Article 21 of the Multi & Mono Model Grant Agreement for Lump Sum Grants defines the reporting requirements. The ERC PoC report must be prepared and submitted online via the Funding & Tenders Portal.

Yes, under the ERC Work Programme 2023, the financial contribution will be awarded as a lump sum of EUR 150 000 for a period of 18 months. The ERC expects that normally ERC-2023-PoC projects should be completed within 12 months. However, to allow for those projects that require more preparation time, grant agreements will be signed for 18 months. Given this initial flexibility, extensions of the duration of proof of concept projects may be granted only exceptionally. More information can be found in the Multi & Mono Model Grant Agreement for Lump Sum Grants.

For ERC Proof of Concept (ERC-2023-PoC) Lump Sum actions, beneficiaries do not need to keep records on their actual costs for the purpose of triggering the payment of the lump sum. They only need to keep appropriate and sufficient evidence (documentation, records) that the action tasks (as described in Annex 1) were properly carried out. For more information, please refer to the Multi & Mono Model Grant Agreement for Lump Sum Grants.

The Principal Investigator (PI) should be engaged by the Host Institution of the ERC PoC Grant during its entire duration. There is no minimum commitment percentage of the working time required from the PI applying for the ERC-2023-PoC call. However, in the grant agreement, PIs must enter a minimum of their working time, as they are responsible for managing the ERC PoC project. It is essential that the cumulative percentage commitment that the PI spends on the ERC PoC action and on the main ERC StG/CoG/AdG/SyG Grant (if still ongoing) does not exceed 100%. For more information please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2023.

Yes, under the ERC Work Programme 2023, ERC PoC grants can be transferred to a new beneficiary, as described in Article 41 of HE Lump sum Model Grant Agreement.

Under the ERC Work Programme 2023, in the context of a POC project, the situation for additional participants/beneficiaries from non-associated third countries is different for PoC compared to ERC main grants.

In contrast with the main ERC grants, there is no provision allowing for this possibility for PoC projects under the ERC Work Programme 2023. The applicable provision for PoC calls is Article 23.2.(b) of the Regulation establishing the Horizon Europe programme applies, i.e.:

Legal entities established in a non-associated third country shall bear the cost of their participation. However, a legal entity established in (…) non-associated third countries, shall be eligible for funding in an action if: (…) the Commission or the relevant funding body considers that the participation of the legal entity concerned is essential for implementing the action.”

Therefore, in accordance with this provision, for POC projects, the participation with EU funding of entities established in non-associated third countries is limited to entities whose participation is deemed essential.Applicants to the 2023 ERC Proof of Concept (PoC) call can therefore still include a beneficiary/participant from a non-associated third country, but EU funding may only be granted to this beneficiary/participant if their participation is deemed essential for implementing the action.

The reporting requirements for an ERC main frontier research projects granted under Horizon Europe Programme (Starting Grant / Consolidator Grant / Advanced Grant or Synergy Grant) foresee two different reporting streams to cover the financial aspects, on the one hand, and the scientific aspects of the grant, on the other hand, as described in Article 21 of the Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions. Scientific reports are the sole responsibility of the Principal Investigator and are submitted via the Host Institution usually twice during the lifetime of a project (at mid-term and at the end). The financial reports are prepared by the Host Institution in consultation with the Principal Investigator and must usually be submitted 60 days after end of period (page 14 of the Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions); this report must include information on the use of resources and the general implementation of the project (see Article 21 of Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions). At the end of a project, the Host Institution will also have to submit a Certificate on Financial Statements for each beneficiary (and linked third party) depending on the amount of the costs claimed (if the entity requests a total contribution of EUR 430 000 or more). Both types of reports (Scientific and Financial) are prepared and submitted online via the Funding & Tenders Portal (F&T Portal).

In the case of the Synergy Grants the corresponding Principal Investigator assumes the primary responsibility for the scientific reporting and contribution to the financial reporting, while the other Principal Investigators must contribute to both the scientific and financial reporting (page 120 of Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions).

To be eligible for calls with deadlines in the calendar year 2022, Host Institutions (HIs) which can be legal entities from an EU Member State or Associated Country that are public bodies, research organisations or higher education institutions (including private research organisations and private higher education institutions establishments) must have a gender equality plan (GEP) or an equivalent strategic document in place for the duration of the project at the latest by the time of the Grant Agreement preparation.This requirement does not have to be fulfilled for ERC calls published under the ERC Work Programme 2022, having a deadline in 2021 calendar year (ERC-2022-SYG, ERC-2022-POC1).

According to the conditions applied to the ERC frontier research Grants 2020, there are three main    restrictions to be considered for Principal Investigators in this regard:

  1. A researcher may participate as    Principal Investigator [Including all Principal Investigators supported  under  the Synergy Grant]  in  only one ERC frontier research project at any one time [NB A new frontier research project can only start after the duration of the project fixed in a previous frontier research grant agreement has ended.]
  2. A researcher participating as Principal Investigator in an ERC frontier research project may not submit a proposal for   another ERC frontier research grant, unless the existing project ends no more than two years after the call deadline.
  3.  A Principal Investigator may submit proposals to different ERC  frontier  research  grant  calls published under the same Work Programme, but only the first eligible proposal will be evaluated.

These restrictions are specified in the ERC Work Programme 2020 and may be modified in future work programmes by the ERC Scientific Council in light of experience. Please note however that it is possible to participate in more than one ERC grant as a team member.