The ERC funds talented Principal Investigators to carry out ‘frontier research’ in any discipline. Excellence is the sole criterion for funding – excellence of the PI, and excellence of the proposed research project. PI’s decide their own research aims and how best to implement their project (including the team they need to carry out their research).
The four main funding schemes are
Starting Grants: for PIs between two and seven years post PhD. Funding is for up to €1.5m* over five years (with up to an additional €1m available for specific additional significant costs)
Consolidator Grants: for PIs between seven and 12 years post-PhD. Funding is for up to €2m* over five years
Advanced Grants: for established researchers with an excellent track record of research achievements, particularly over the last 10 years. Funding is for up to €2.5m* over five years
Synergy Grants: for 2-4 PIs at any career stage, with excellent track records. Funding is up to €10m* (across the whole project) over six years.
*Up to €1m additional funding is available for specific types of additional costs which might be associated with the project. For Synergy grants the additional provision is for up to €4m.
The ERC also funds Proof of Concept grants for existing ERC grant holders (or those whose ERC grants have recently finished). Grants are to facilitate verification of the innovation potential of an idea arising out of the original ERC project. Funding is €150,000 over 18 months.
ERC Work Programmes are released on an annual basis. More information is on the ERC’s website.