ERC Synergy Grants
Groups applying to the 'ERC Synergy Grants' must be made of a minimum of two and a maximum of four Principal Investigators, and their teams.
The ERC Synergy Grants target excellent emerging scientists at the start of their career as well as established researchers with outstanding scientific track records.
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 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’s,
- bottom-up approach without predefined priorities
- scientific excellence as sole evaluation criterion
In a nutshell
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 are engaged by different institutions in EU member states or associated countries.
In the current Synergy Grant Call 2019 it is for the first time possible to include one PI working at a host institution established in a non-European Third Country 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 Applicants’ Guide
Evaluation Procedure: A one-step application is followed by a 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A: project will be proposed for funding
- B: Project will not be proposed for funding
The results have impact on the re-application to the ERC. For all PIs from the Synergy-Grant-Call 2018, the following restrictions will apply for Calls under Work Programme 2019:
- Result "B" in step 1 or step 2: not eligible for Synergy Grants Call 2019
- Result "C" in step 1: not eligible for any ERC research grants in Call 2019 (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy Grants); not eligible for Synergy Grant Call 2020
Open Calls can always be found on the Participant Portal of the European Commission.
The opening of the Synergy Grant Call 2019 will be on 4. September 2018, the deadline will be on 08 November 2018.
The notification period can be found in the Work Programme 2019 on pages 4 and 5.
Synergy Grant Call 2018 (1.Call round)
For the 2018 call for proposals of the Synergy Grant the ERC received 300 applications. It is expected that 30 projects will receive funding, which makes an overall success rate of 10%.
Results can be expected in October 2018.
In 2012 and 2013 two Synergy Grant pilot call rounds were announced:
For the first call for proposals of the Synergy Grants 2012 the ERC received 710 applications; 11 projects were funded.
The second call 2013 attracted 449 proposals; 13 projects were funded.
All funded projects can be found here.
You can find the names of the experts of the previous calls here: