ERC Proof of Concept (English)

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The National Contact Point ERC is a cooperation between the EU-Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (EU-Büro des BMBF) and the European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KoWi).

Proof of Concept (PoC)

With regard to the Flagship Initiative “Innovation Union” as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the ERC is interested in the pre-commercialisation of ideas arising from ERC projects.

In view of this, the Proof of Concept Grant was established in 2011. The funding scheme exclusively targets ERC grant holders who want to vertify the innovation potential of ideas arising from their ERC-funded projects.

The objective is to bring research results to a pre-demonstration stage where potential commercialisation opportunities have been identified. Research activities are not funded under this scheme.

The funding can be used for

  • market analysis,
  • technical tests and validation,
  • clarification of the intellectual property rights position and strategy or
  • the outline of a business plan.


Proof of Concept in brief:


Budget and duration of the funding: up to EUR 150,000 for a maximum of 18 months

Topic of the project: open to all fields of research ("bottom-up")

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

Under the Work Programme 2019 the financial contribution of the Proof of Concept Grant will be awarded as a lump sum of EUR 150,000. The lump sum will cover all direct costs and includes a 25% flat rate to cover indirect costs of the project. The lump sum approach removes all obligations on cost reporting and financial audits at project implementation. Payment of the lump sum will rely on the quality of the scientific performance and the output of the research project.

Host institution: universities/universities of applied sciences, research institutes, companies and international organisations with registered offices in an EU Member State or FP-Associated Country

Application: maximum seven pages proposal containing information on the idea to be taken to proof-of-concept, the innovation strategy, a plan of activities and a justified budget; it is important that the proposal explains the relationship between the PoC project and the other ERC project of the Principal Investigator.

The following aspects have to be considered for an application:

  • The Proof of Concept Grant does only address researchers, who have already been awarded an ERC Grant (StG/CoG/AdG/SyG).
  • The ERC-project shall not have been completed more than one year prior to 1 January of the Work Programme of the respective Call.
  • The host institution must employ the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the project.

Evaluation: proposals will be evaluated by independent experts in a one-stage peer-review process

Evaluators will use the following criteria:

  • Excellence (innovation potential of the idea)
  • Impact (character and impact of the project)
  • Quality and efficiency of the implementation (quality of the Proof of Concept-plan)

The evaluation is conducted for each of the criteria according to a so called “pass/fail”-principle. In order to be funded, proposals must reach a “pass mark” from the majority of the evaluators.

The ERC has published a video titled "Secrets of the PoC proposal evaluation process", where a PoC reviewer explains what she sees as a successful PoC application and gives advice to potential applicants.

Further information can be found on the ERC's website.

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Current Call

Open calls are published via the Funding & tender Portal.

The current call 2020 was published on 15. October 2019.

The deadlines are 21. January 2020, 07. May 2020 and 17. September 2020.

Documents for the call can be found here.

Planned date for Call 2021: opening 14. January 2021, deadline 16. March 2021, 17. June 2021, 20. October 2021

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Results of previous Calls


At the second deadline (18. April 2018) 132 proposals were submitted Results can be expected by the end of July.


At the first deadline (16. January 2018) 114 proposals were submitted. 50 proposals were funded (success rate 43.9%). 7 institutions from Germany received a PoC Grant.



Out of 107 proposals 51 were funded (success rate: 47,6%). German Host Institutions received 8 grants. For the first time, most grants went to Germany.



Out of 405 proposals 133 were funded (success rate: 32.8%). German Host Institutions received 19 grants.



Out of 339 proposals 135 were funded (success rate: 39.8%). German Host Institutions received 15 grants.


PoC-2014 First Deadline:

PoC-2014 Second Deadline:

PoC-2013 First Deadline:

PoC-2013 Second Deadline:

PoC-2012 First Deadline:

PoC-2012 Second Deadline:

PoC-2011 First Deadline:

PoC-2011 Second Deadline:

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