Learn more about the European Research Council’s (ERC) funding opportunities!

Dr. Nicolas Voilley from the European Research Council (ERC) visited the Science & Technology Office Tokyo to present the different funding schemes of ERC and encouraged Swiss and Japanese researchers to take part in the program.

One of the novelties of the ERC pointed out by Dr. Voilley is the Synergy Grant, which allows international researchers (including Japanese researchers) to team up and conduct research in an EU Member State or in Associated Countries (such as Switzerland).

Furthermore, an agreement has been made with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), which means that Japanese researchers from JSPS can now also visit ERC research teams in Europe!

The ERC was created in 2007 and is part of EU’s Research and Innovation Funding Program “Horizon 2020” (H2020).

The ERC represents € 13 billion, nearly 20% of EU research money. It can be used not only by researchers from universities but also from companies, international organizations or startups, regardless of age and nationality. Researchers from anywhere in the world can apply provided 50% or more of their research will be carried out in an EU Member State or an Associated Country (including Switzerland!).

Moreover, it is open to all fields of research, including high risk/high gain research; in that regard, it is different from others, more conventional funding.

The main goal of the ERC is to support young researchers through its different grant schemes:

  • The “Starting Grant” is useful for post-doctoral researchers (2-7 years after PhD) who are starting to develop an independent career and wish to establish their own team. The grant is up to €1.5 Million for 5 years.
  • The “Consolidator Grant” is for advanced post-doctoral researchers (7-12 years after PhD) who wish to have a little more independence and to consolidate their team. The grant can be up to € 2 Million for 5 years.
  • The “Advanced Grant” is made for outstanding senior researchers who are already well-established and offers up to € 2.5 Million for 5 years.
  • The “Proof of Concept Grant” helps to ensure the marketability of innovative and excellent ideas and is open only to ERC grant holders, up to € 150,000 for 18 months.
  • Finally, thanks to H2020, the ERC reopened the “Synergy Grant”, which is available for teams of scientists who wish to collaborate to address research problems. The teams must be composed of 2 to 4 scientists who can prove that their collaboration with other teams is fundamental to their project. The grant is up to € 10 billion up to 6 years.

Below are the next ERC calls for proposals:

Courtesy of Dr. Voilley

The ERC also successfully implemented arrangement funding with 9 other countries, which allow non-European researchers to visit ERC research teams. In Japan, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) signed an agreement with ERC, which means that Japanese researchers funded by JSPS can visit ERC research teams while continuing to receive stipend and support from JSPS. The ERC grant will cover other subsistence costs.

ERC grants are a great opportunity to develop your research and extend your network. It is also well-recognized by universities all around the world.

You can find more details on the different programs and grants here.

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