In a nutshell:
Researchers from all fields of research are eligible to apply. The research project has to be conducted in an institution located in EU member states or associated states. The ERC is particularly keen to encourage proposals from Principal Investigators moving from a third country to Europe.
The aim is to fund projects carried out by individual teams which are headed by a single Principal Investigator (PI). The PI is free to choose team members according to the project needs. Team members may be of any age and any nationality. In exceptional cases, team members can also be located at a different institution than the PI's host institution.
The German degree “Dr. med.” is treated as an MD degree (no PhD equivalence!) therefore the applicant needs to provide in addition to the Dr. med./MD degree:
- proof of an appointment that requires doctoral equivalency (i.e. postdoctoral fellowship, professorship appointment)
The eligibility window is 4-9 years after the awarded Dr. med./MD.
The applicant needs to provide evidence of research experience (including peer reviewed publications) in the CV.
A proposal consists of administrative forms (Part A), a research proposal (Part B section 1 and 2) and supporting documentation. Templates can be downloaded here.
The Administrative Forms (Part A) consist of on-line forms with administrative data.
The Research Proposal (Part B) consists of two sections:
Grant applications are assessed by peer review evaluation panels. These ERC panels assess and score the proposals on the basis of the individual evaluations and on the panel discussion which follows them.
The panels cover all fields of science. For operational reasons they are subdivided into three main research domains: Physical Sciences and Engineering (10 Panels), Life Sciences (9 Panels), Social Sciences and Humanities (6 Panels). The list of panels of the three different domains are described in the Annex of the Guide for Applicants.
The names of the current panel members are not published before the end of the evaluation. The names of previous panel members are listed here.
Excellence is the sole criterion of evaluation. It will be applied to the evaluation of both the Principal Investigator and the research project. For both criteria, the reviewers will give marks:
Step 1 (panel):
At step 1 only Part B Section 1 will be evaluated!
Step 2 (panel + remote refereees) :
At step 2 Part B Section 1 and 2 (B1 and B2) are evaluated and PIs are invited for an interview in order to present and discuss the proposal within the panel. The NCP has published a guide for the interviews (in German only). An English summary thereof will be sent on demand.
The ERC Grant Agreement will be concluded between the ERC Executive Agency and the host institution of the Principal Investigator. However, in case of leaving the Host Institution the PI can take the grant to the new host institution (portability).
The Host Institution (HI) must provide a commitment letter offering appropriate conditions for the PI to direct independently the research and manage its funding for the duration of the project. These conditions, including the 'portability' of the project, are the subject of an agreement between the HI and the PI
For a better orientation it is advisable to look at already funded persons and projects of your specific research field. The ERC website provides complete lists of successful projects from each Call (PI name, title, institution). The CORDIS database allows searching per panel, funding scheme and country and also displays the abstracts of the projects.
The next Calls for proposals for the Starting Grants will be operated under "Horizon 2020" (2014-2020), with deadlines expected to be on 25 March 2014 and on 3 February 2015.
Open calls can be found on the Participant Portal.
All relevant documents are available here.
Results of the previous calls (lists of funded projects and statistics) can be found at the ERC’s website.