The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. To date, the ERC has funded nearly 6,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers.
The ERC consists of an independent Scientific Council and an Executive Agency (ERCEA). The Scientific Council, the ERC's governing body, is composed of 22 eminent scientists and scholars, including the ERC President, who define the scientific funding strategy and methodologies. They act on behalf of the scientific community in Europe to promote creativity and innovative research. Since 1 January 2014, Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon is the ERC President and the Chair of the Scientific Council.
The ERC is part of the EU Framework programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.
Being 'investigator-driven', or 'bottom-up', in nature, the ERC approach allows researchers to identify new opportunities and directions in any field of research, rather than being led by priorities set by politicians. This ensures that funds are channeled into new and promising areas of research with a greater degree of flexibility.
ERC grants are awarded through open competition to projects headed by starting and established researchers, irrespective of their origins, who are working or moving to work in Europe. The sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence. The aim here is to recognize the best ideas, and confer status and visibility on the best brains in Europe, while also attracting talent from abroad.
ERC funding schemes are open to top researchers of any nationality or age who wish to carry out their frontier research in the 28 EU Member States or associated countries.
There are 3 core funding schemes and one additional scheme for ERC grant holders.
- ERC Starting Grants are designed to encourage young talented research leader to gain independence in Europe and to build their own careers.
Eligibility: researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD (plus 18 months for each child), a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal.
Funding per grant: up to € 1.5 million
Duration: up to 5 years
- ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to back up researchers who want to establish their research teams and continue developing a successful career in Europe. The scheme also strengthens independent and excellent new individual research teams that have been recently created.
Eligibility: researchers of any nationality with 7-12 years of experience since completion of PhD (plus 18 months for each child), a scientific track record showing scientific talent and an excellent research proposal.
Funding per grant: up to € 2 million
Duration: up to 5 years
- ERC Advanced Grants are designed to allow outstanding research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects in Europe. Applicants for the ERC Advanced Grants - called Principal Investigators (PI) - are expected to be active researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.
Eligibility: any nationality, any age. Applicants must be leaders in their respective field(s) of research and must demonstrate significant achievement in the last 10 years
Funding: up to € 2.5 million per grant
Duration: up to 5 years
- ERC Proof of Concept Grants are designed to support ERC grantees with the commercial or societal application of the results of their funded research.
Eligibility: all Principal Investigators benefitting from an ERC Advanced, Synergy, Consolidator or Starting Grant that is either ongoing, or where the project has ended less than 12 months before the publication date of an ERC Proof of Concept call. The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the relation between the idea to be taken to proof of concept and the ERC frontier research project (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy) in question.
Funding: up to €150 000
More than one Proof of Concept Grant may be awarded per ERC funded frontier research project but only one Proof of Concept project may be running at any one time for the same ERC frontier research project.
Duration: up to 18 months
- Synergy Grants –are designed to support a group of two to maximum four Principal Investigators (PIs) - of which one will be designated as the corresponding PI (cPI) – working together and bringing different skills and resources to tackle ambitious research problems. No specific eligibility criteria regarding the academic training are foreseen for ERC Synergy Grants. PIs must present an early achievement track-record or a ten-year track-record, whichever is most appropriate.
Funding: up to maximum of € 10 million;
Duration: a period of 6 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration).
Contact information of ERC NCPs in Georgia:
Manana (Mako) Mikaberidze- firstname.lastname@example.org
Nino Gachechiladze -email@example.com
Mariam Keburia - firstname.lastname@example.org