Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON)
Work programme part
The ERC Starting Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme. Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.
Size of ERC Starting Grants
Starting Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 000 for a period of 5 years. The maximum size of the grants is reduced pro rata temporis for projects of a shorter duration. (This does not apply to ongoing projects).
Additional funding up to EUR 1 000 000.can be requested in the proposal to cover the following eligible costs when these are necessary to carry out the proposed work: (a) "start-up" costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant and/or (b) the purchase of major equipment and/or (c) access to large facilities and/or (d) other major experimental and field work costs, excluding personnel costs.
Additional funding is not subject to pro rata temporis reduction for projects of shorter duration.
All funding requested is assessed during evaluation.
Profile of the ERC Starting Grant Principal Investigator
The Principal Investigators shall have been awarded their first PhD at least 2 and up to 7 years prior to 1 January 2021. Cut-off dates: PhD awarded from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2018 (inclusive).
The eligibility period can be extended beyond 7 years in certain properly documented circumstances.
A competitive Starting Grant Principal Investigator must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of maturity, for example by having produced at least one important publication as main author or without the participation of their PhD supervisor. Applicant Principal Investigators should also be able to demonstrate a promising track record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications (as main author) in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals, or in the leading international peer-reviewed journals of their respective field. They may also demonstrate a record of invited presentations in well-established international conferences, granted patents, awards, prizes, etc.
For further information, please see the ERC Work Programme 2021.
Topic conditions and documents
The conditions specific to ERC grants are described in the ERC Work Programme 2021 under the heading 'Admissibility and eligibility criteria' and in the ERC Rules of Submission. An overview is provided below:
Admissible and eligible proposals: All proposals must be complete, readable and accessible. They must be submitted by eligible Principal Investigators before the relevant call deadline. A complete proposal needs to include all parts or sections (see “Proposal submission and description” below). Proposals which do not meet these criteria may be declared inadmissible. The content of the proposal must relate to the objectives and to the grant type set out in the call, as defined in the ERC Work Programme 2021. A proposal will only be deemed ineligible on grounds of ‘scope’ in clear-cut cases.
Applications where the Principal Investigator proposes to commit less time in the EU or an Associated Country or to the project than the minimum percentages set out in the section "Minimum time commitment" of the Work Programme will be declared ineligible. If it becomes clear before, during or after the peer review evaluation phase, that one or more of the admissibility or eligibility criteria have not been met, the proposal will be declared inadmissible or ineligible and it will be rejected. Where there is a doubt on the admissibility or eligibility of a proposal, the peer review evaluation may proceed pending a decision following an admissibility and eligibility review committee.
Eligible Principal Investigator: The ERC actions are open to researchers of any nationality who intend to conduct their research activity in any EU Member State or Associated Country (see annex 3 of the ERC Work Programme 2021). Principal Investigators may be of any age and nationality and may reside in any country in the world at the time of the application.
There are specific eligibility criteria for a Principal Investigator applying to the Starting Grants based on the date of award of their first PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) as described in the ERC Work Programme 2021 (see also Annex 2 'PhD and Equivalent Doctoral Degrees' and specific provisions for holders of medical degrees).
All Principal Investigators funded through an ERC Starting Grant must spend a minimum of 50% of their working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country and a minimum of 50% of their working time on the ERC project.
Eligible Host Institution: The host institution (Applicant Legal Entity) must engage and host the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the project, as defined in the grant agreement. It must either be established in an EU Member State or Associated Country (see annex 3 of the ERC Work Programme 2021) as a legal entity created under national law, or it may be an International European research organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) or any other entity created under EU law. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or associated country will be deemed to be established in this Member State or associated country. Any type of legal entity, public or private, including universities, research organisations and undertakings can host Principal Investigators and their teams
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Please refer to the MGA used for ERC actions under Horizon Europe (HE General MGA).