ERC Synergy Grant Call 2020 is now open - apply before 5 November 2019

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Tags: ERC | Funding | Collaboration

The ERC Synergy Grants target excellent emerging scientists at the start of their career as well as established researchers with outstanding scientific track records.

The 2020 Synergy Grant call is open! Submit your proposal before 5 November 2019.

According to the specific scientific field and the career level of the applicant, panel members will assess the following benchmarks: Publications without the presence as co-author of the PhD supervisor, publications as main author in leading international journals, translated monographs, patents, lectures at international conferences or (inter-) national science awards.

ERC Synergy Grants are intended to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources in new ways, in order to jointly address research problems that could lead to breakthroughs by bringing together 2 to 4 co-PIs that would not be possible by the individual PI working alone.

It is expected that in most cases ERC Synergy groups will be interdisciplinary, often using multidisciplinary approaches, and ensure regular face-to-face contact over the course of the project.

The general principles of the ERC funding schemes apply as well for the 'Synergy Grants':

  • focus on the individual PI,

  • bottom-up approach without predefined priorities

  • scientific excellence as sole evaluation criterion

As an exception to the normal rule for ERC grants, Synergy Grant project may involve maximum one co-PI permanently based in a third-country.


Target Group:

Young and emerging researchers with first independent research results, as well as established scientists with outstanding scientific performance. There are no requirements for academic titles (such as PhD, professorship).

Each Principal Investigator (PI) has to provide a CV and an 'early achievement record' or a '10-year track record' depending on the PI's career

stage. Furthermore, it is required to provide an extended synopsis of

the proposal (5 pages) and a scientific proposal (15 pages).

Each Principal Investigators is equally responsible for the group's project. One PI acts as “Corresponding Principal Investigator” (cPI) which means that he/she is the administrational contact for the ERC.


Budget and duration:

The maximum funding per project is 10 million Euros for a period up to six years. Additionally 4 million Euros can be requested in exceptional cases (purchase of major equipment, access to large facilities, PI coming from third country).


Research Topic: open for all research-fields, bottom-up


Funding: 100% of direct costs plus 25% overhead for indirect costs


Host Institution: Universities, research institutions, international organizations and enterprises seated in one of the EU member states or associated Countries. Proposals are submitted by the cPI on behalf of the group. The institution hosting the cPI is called the “corresponding Host Institution” (cHI).

All PIs can be engaged by the same institution or they can be engaged by different institutions in EU member states or associated countries (at the exception of maximum one, see below).


In the current Synergy Grant Call 2020 it is possible to include one PI working at a host institution established in a non-European Third Country - including ASEAN countries - into the Synergy Grant group. The requirement to spend at least 50% of the total working time during the project duration in Europe does not apply for Third Country PIs.


Proposal Submission:

The proposal includes three parts: part B1 with profiles of the Principal Investigators and a 5-pages summary of the project, part B2 with a 15-pages description of the project and administrative online forms.

Link to Information for Applicants


Evaluation Procedure:

Three-step evaluation. Scientific excellence is the sole evaluation criterion. At each step the evaluators give grades (A, B or C) to each proposal. PIs are evaluated separately by the experts in consideration of their career stage and scientific field.

Step 1: evaluation of Part B1 only

The evaluation will be conducted by a pool of around 85 reviewers. Panels will be formed in a dynamic way to ensure the best expertise for a group of proposals. Results:

  • A: high quality - pass to step 2
  • B: high quality - not sufficient to pass to step 2
  • C: not sufficient quality

Step 2: evaluation of the full proposal

The full proposal of the selected applications will be assssed by 5 panels. Based on this assessment a subset of proposals will be selected for interviews in Brussels. Results:

  • A: high quality - pass to step 3
  • B: high quality - not sufficient to pass to step 3

Step 3: Principal Investigators invited for Interviews

At this stage the selected A-proposals from Step-2 will be invited to Interviews in Brussels in front of the panels. Results:

  • A: project will be proposed for funding
  • B: Project will not be proposed for funding


Additional resources:

How to write an ERC proposal: training (July 2019)

ERC website

List of ERC-funded projects

National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 (including ERC)