ERC Starting Grants
The ERC Starting Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme. Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.
Size of ERC Starting Grants
Starting Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 000 for a period of 5 years. The maximum size of the grants is reduced pro rata temporis for projects of a shorter duration. (This does not apply to ongoing projects).
Additional funding up to EUR 1 000 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover the following eligible costs when these are necessary to carry out the proposed work: (a) "start-up" costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant, and/or (b) the purchase of major equipment, and/or (c) access to large facilities, and/or (d) other major experimental and field work costs, excluding personnel costs.
Additional funding is not subject to pro rata temporis reduction for projects of shorter duration.
All funding requested is assessed during evaluation.
Profile of the ERC Starting Grant Principal Investigator
The Principal Investigators shall have successfully defended their first PhD at least 2 and up to 7 years prior to 1 January 2023. Cut-off dates: Successful defence of PhD between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2020 (inclusive).
The eligibility period can be extended beyond 7 years in certain properly documented circumstances. See section Admissibility and eligibility criteria of the ERC Work Programme 2023.
A competitive Starting Grant Principal Investigator must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of maturity, for example by having produced at least one important publication as main author or without the participation of their PhD supervisor. Applicant Principal Investigators should also be able to demonstrate a promising track record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including, e.g. significant publications (as main author) in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals, or signitficant publications in the leading international peer-reviewed journals of their respective field, or research monographs. They may also demonstrate a record of invited presentations in well-established international conferences, granted patents, awards, prizes, or any other scientific achievements they deem relevant in relation to their research field and project.
For further information, please see the ERC Work Programme 2023.
Topic conditions and documents
The conditions specific to ERC grants are described in the ERC Work Programme 2023 under the heading 'Admissibility and eligibility criteria' and in the ERC Rules of Submission. An overview is provided below:
Admissible and eligible proposals: All proposals must be complete, readable and accessible. They must be submitted by eligible Principal Investigators before the relevant call deadline. A complete proposal needs to include all parts or sections (see “Proposal submission and description” below). Proposals which do not meet these criteria may be declared inadmissible. The content of the proposal must relate to the objectives and to the grant type set out in the call, as defined in the ERC Work Programme 2023. If a proposal is considered not to relate to the objectives of the grant and/or call for proposals, it will be declared ineligible.
Applications where the Principal Investigator proposes to commit less time in the EU or an Associated Country, or to the project than the minimum percentages set out in the section "Minimum time commitment" of the Work Programme will be declared ineligible. If it becomes clear before, during or after the peer review evaluation phase that one or more of the admissibility or eligibility criteria have not been met, the proposal will be declared inadmissible or ineligible and it will be rejected. Where there is a doubt on the admissibility or eligibility of a proposal, the peer review evaluation may proceed pending a decision following an admissibility and eligibility review committee.
Eligible Principal Investigators: The ERC actions are open to researchers of any nationality who intend to conduct their research activity in any EU Member State or Associated Country (see Annex 3 of the ERC Work Programme 2023). Principal Investigators may be of any age and nationality and may reside in any country in the world at the time of the application.
There are specific eligibility criteria for a Principal Investigator applying to the Starting Grants based on the date of the successful defence of their first PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) as described in the ERC Work Programme 2023 (see also Annex 2 'ERC policy on PhD and equivalent doctoral degrees' and specific provisions for applicants holding a degree in medicine).
All Principal Investigators funded through an ERC Starting Grant must spend a minimum of 50% of their working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country and a minimum of 50% of their working time on the ERC project.
Eligible Host Institution: The Host Institution (Applicant Legal Entity) must engage and host the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the project, as defined in the grant agreement. It must either be established in an EU Member State or Associated Country (see Annex 3 of the ERC Work Programme 2023) as a legal entity created under national law, or it may be an international European research organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) or any other entity created under EU law. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country will be deemed to be established in that Member State or Associated Country. Any type of legal entity, public or private, including universities, research organisations and undertakings can host Principal Investigators and their teams.
Restrictions on submission of proposals: The restrictions for submission related to the outcome of the evaluation in previous calls are designed to allow unsuccessful Principal Investigators the time necessary to develop a stronger proposal. For further details please consult the ERC Work Programme 2023, heading 'Restrictions on submission of proposals' or the Frequently Asked Questions.
Proposal submission and description:
- The Administrative form Part A (including the Ethics Issues Table and the Budget Section) is available in the submission tool below. The budget table and the justification of the Resources are part of this online form Part A (Section 3 - Budget). For more details, please refer to section 2.3 of the ERC Information for Applicants.
- Part B1, Part B2 and the Host Institution Binding Statement of Support templates are provided in the submission system as word-templates (they should be completed, uploaded and submitted via the submission tool as PDF files).
A complete proposal consists of the following elements (with the following page limits):
- Extended Synopsis: 5 pages
- Curriculum Vitae: 2 pages
- Track Record: 2 pages
- Scientific Proposal: 14 pages
- Resources and Time Commitment: 2 pages
- Host Institution Binding Statement of Support
- Ethics Review Table
- PhD record and supporting documentation for eligibility checking.
Complete proposals must be submitted via the submission tool available through the Funding & Tenders Portal (to access the submission tool, you need to register first).
2. Eligible countries: The conditions specific to the ERC are described in the ERC Work Programme 2023 under the heading 'Admissibility and eligibility criteria' and in Annex 3. An overview is provided below:
The ERC actions are open to researchers of any nationality who intend to conduct their research activity in any EU Member State or Associated Country (see Annex 3 of the ERC Work Programme 2023). Principal Investigators may reside in any country in the world at the time of the application. Principal Investigators funded through the ERC frontier research grants shall spend a minimum percentage of their working time on the ERC project (50%) and a minimum percentage of their working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country (50%).
For details about the eligible Host Institution (Applicant Legal Entity) see section 1 above on 'Admissibility and Eligibility Conditions'.
3. Financial and operational capacity and exclusion:
Financial capacity: Please refer to the ERC Rules of Submission, section 4, Award Decision and Preparation of Grant Agreements.
Operational capacity: As indicated in the ERC Work Programme 2023, page 7: Applicants whose proposals are recommended for funding are deemed to fulfil the operational capacity requirements of Article 198(3) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 2018/1046 (the 'Financial Regulation').
Exclusion: Please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2023, Page 75 : Applicants that are subject to the administrative sanctions of exclusion or are in one of the exclusion situations set out by the Financial Regulation are banned from receiving EU grants and can NOT participate.
- Evaluation procedure
For the Starting grant call a single submission of the proposal will be followed by a two-step evaluation. The evaluation will be conducted by means of a structure of high-level peer review panels as listed in Annex 1 of the ERC Work Programme 2023. The panels may be assisted by independent external experts working remotely.
- Evaluation criteria
For all of the main grants, scientific excellence is the sole criterion of evaluation. It will be applied in conjunction to the evaluation of both: the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of the research project and the intellectual capacity, creativity and commitment of the Principal Investigator. The detailed evaluation elements applying to the excellence of the research project and the Principal Investigator are set out in the ERC Work Programme 2023.
5. Indicative timeline for evaluation and grant agreement:
Please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2023 under the heading 'Indicative summary of calls from the 2023 budget'
6. Legal and financial set-up of the grants:
Please refer to the MGA used for ERC actions under Horizon Europe (HE General MGA).
7. Open Science:
Open science is a core principle of the ERC. The ERC is committed to the principle of open access to the published output of research, including in particular, peer-reviewed articles and monographs. It also supports the basic principle of open access to research data and data-related products such as computer code, algorithms, software, workflows, protocols or any other forms of research output. The ERC considers that providing free online access to all these materials can be the most effective way of ensuring that the results of the research it funds can be accessed, read and used as the basis for further advancement.
Under Horizon Europe, beneficiaries of ERC grants must ensure immediate open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to their results as set out in the Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions. Open access has to be provided with full re-use rights. Beneficiaries must ensure that they or the authors retain sufficient intellectual property rights to comply with their open access requirements. Publishing costs can be considered as eligible costs provided that the publishing venue (e.g. journal, book) is fully open access.
In addition, beneficiaries of ERC grants funded under this Work Programme will be covered by the provisions on research data management as set out in the Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions. In particular, whenever a project generates research data, beneficiaries are required to manage it in line with the principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability as described by the FAIR principles initiative, and establish a data management plan within the first six months of project implementation. Open access to research data should be ensured under the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. These provisions are designed to facilitate access, re-use and preservation of the research data generated during the ERC funded research work.
Partner search announcements
LEARs, Account Administrators or self-registrants can publish partner requests for open and forthcoming topics after logging into this Portal, as well as any user having an active public Person profile.
To access the Electronic Submission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action and the type of model grant agreement that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice, as it cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.
To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Funding & Tenders Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.