European Research Council

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1 The European Research Council Funding Opportunities in Europe for Creative Minds from Anywhere in the World Veronica Beneitez Pinero PoC Call coordinator ERC Executive Agency Art & Build Architect / Montois Partners / credits: S. Brison ERC supports excellent frontier research Bottom-up approach, curiosity driven All fields of science and scholarship are eligible Scientific Excellence is the only evaluation criterion Individual team + research project Irrespective of nationality, gender or age of researchers Attractive grants for independent teams in Europe Significant, flexible grants Host organisation located in EU or Associated Country 2 1

2 What does the ERC offer researchers? Independence, recognition & visibility to work on a research topic of own choice with a team of own choice to attract top team members (EU and non-eu) and collaborators to manage the research activity and the funds of the project to gain true financial autonomy for 5 years to negotiate with the host institution the best conditions of work to move with the grant to any place in Europe if necessary (portability of grants) to attract additional funding and gain recognition ERC funding is seen as a label of quality 23 Features of ERC grants High flexibility: aims of the project can be modified through amendments to the grant agreement Grants are portable PI s time commitment: 50% (StG), 40% (CoG) and 30% (AdG) Light reporting along the project life-time: financial report every 18 months, scientific report at mid-term and end of the project No constraints on eligible costs as long as they are for the execution of the project (rules of the HI apply) 4 2

3 ERC Grant Schemes Starting Grants starters (2-7 years after PhD) up to 2.0 Mio for 5 years Consolidator Grants consolidators (7-12 years after PhD) up to 2.75 Mio for 5 years Advanced Grants track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years up to 3.5 Mio for 5 years Proof-of-Concept bridging gap between research - earliest stage of marketable innovation up to 150,000 for ERC grant holders 5 Researchers career development and complementary funding schemes ERC AdG - Advanced ERC CoG Consolidators Senior Professor ERC StG - Starters Erasmus Students Marie Curie Post Graduates Post-docs Junior Professor/ Junior Researcher Associated Professor Full Professor 3

4 Evaluation of proposals: main features Goal of the evaluation: select the best frontier research proposals Only evaluation criteria: excellence of the PI and the Project Method: Two steps, peer review Structure: 25 panels 7 Excellence - the sole evaluation criterion Excellence of the Research Project Ground breaking nature Important challenge? Substantially beyond the current state of art? High-gain/high-risk balance Potential impact Possibility of a major break-through? Scientific Approach Feasibility, novel concepts/methodology Excellence of the Principal Investigator Intellectual capacity: Track-record, capacity to go significantly beyond the state of the art, evidence of creative independent thinking Creativity Commitment : Willing to devote a significant part of PI's working time (minimum of 50% for Starting, minimum of 40% for Consolidator Grant) Referees and panels evaluate and score each criterion, which results in a ranking of the proposals. 4

5 Evaluation of proposals: review procedure STEP 1 Remote assessment by Panel members of section 1 PI and synopsis STEP 2 Remote assessment by Panel members and reviewers of full proposals Score: B or C Panel meeting Proposals retained for step 2: Score A Panel meeting + interview (StG and CoG) Ranked list of proposals: Score A Score: B 9 Evaluation of proposals: review procedure STEP 1 Remote assessment by Panel members of section 1 PI and synopsis STEP 2 Remote assessment by Panel members and reviewers of full proposals Score: B or C Panel meeting Proposals retained for step 2: Score A Panel meeting + interview (StG and CoG) Ranked list of proposals: Score A Score: B 10 5

6 Evaluation of proposals: peer review Panel members: High-level scientists Recruited by ScC from all over the world: ~14% from outside Europe About members, including a chair person Evaluate in Step1 and Step2 External Reviewers: typically 2000 / call Nominated in Step1 by panel Evaluate only a small number of proposals only in Step2 US (7%) Other (7%) EU and Associated Countries (86%) 11 ERC Evaluation process (StG, CoG & AdG) Panel structure : 3 domains and 25 panels Each panel : Panel Chair and Panel Members Life Sciences (LS) 9 LS1 Molecular & Structural Biology & Biochemistry LS2 Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics & Systems Biology LS3 Cellular & Developmental Biology LS4 Physiology, Pathophysiology & Endocrinology LS5 Neurosciences & Neural disorders LS6 Immunity & Infection LS7 Diagnostic Tools, Therapies & Public health LS8 Evolutionary, Population & Environmental Biology LS9 Applied Life Sciences & Non-Medical Biotechnology Social Sciences and Humanities (SH) 6 SH1 Markets, Individuals & Institutions SH2 The Social World, Diversity & Common Ground SH3 Environment, Space & Population SH4 The Human Mind and its Complexity SH5 Cultures & Cultural Production SH6 The Study of the Human Past Physical Sciences & Engineering (PE) 10 PE1 Mathematics PE2 Fundamental Constituents of Matter PE3 Condensed Matter Physics PE4 Physical & Analytical Chemical sciences PE5 Synthetic Chemistry & Materials PE6 Computer Science & Informatics PE7 Systems & Communication Engineering PE8 Products & Process Engineering PE9 Universe Sciences PE10 Earth System Science 12 6

7 After 8 Years of Existence ERC = A Success Story 59,000 proposals have been evaluated Over top researchers funded during FP7 ( ) 5000th ERC grant agreement signed in June % are at an early-career stage 68 nationalities represented Highly competitive (overall success rate for main schemes - 10%) Working in over 600 different institutions in 35 countries Benchmarking effect: impact on national programmes and agencies 13 Success Rates/Country of Host Institution in FP7 ( ) *) First legal signatories of the first grant agreement taken into account 14 7

8 H2020 AdG 2014 Funded Projects by Country of HI AdG2014 success rate: 8,3% 15 National initiatives in support of finalist projects in the ERC calls Relation with National Agencies II supports unfunded StG finalists Some funding agencies uses ERC evaluation results in FI: support scheme research A new partnership between National Funding Councils and ERC NO: The Research Council SE: support for unfunded finalists of StG calls since 2007 for finalists in reserve lists since 2009 calls IE: New scheme opening in Previous scheme for StG2007 finalists FR: ANR launched an initiative to support unfunded StG2007 finalists BE Flanders: FWO supports the best ranked PIs on the ERC-StG reserve list LU: FNR supports unfunded StG and AdG finalists since 2009 calls CH: SNSF launched an initiative to back unfunded StG2007 finalists PL: Support scheme for finalists of 2009 and 2010 calls. It might continue CZ: opened support scheme for finalists in 2012 HU: Call for unfunded ERC finalists of StG2007 and StG2009 SI: Complementary scheme for unfunded finalists of 2010 calls RO: opened support scheme for finalists in 2012 TR: Considers a scheme to support unfunded ERC finalists PT: New national initiative in support of ERC finalists being developed ES: support for unfunded finalists of StG calls since 2007 IT: Call open to all unfunded StG2007 finalists BG: Develops a scheme to financially support projects in the ERC reserve list EL: support for unfunded StG and AdG finalists in 2010 and 2011 calls CY: Research Promotion Foundation supported StG 2009 finalists 16 8

9 Preparing an application Next deadline: AdG 2016 Opens 24 May 2016 Deadline 1 September 2016 ERC Budget in H2020 ERC Budget : 13 billion ERC Budget : 7.5 billion 18 9

10 ERC Grant Schemes Starting Grants (2-7 years after PhD) 1.5M, with possibility of an additional 0.5M Consolidator Grants (7-12 years after PhD) 2.0M, with possibility of an additional 0.75M Advanced Grants 2.5M (AdG) possibility of additional 1.0M Reasons for additional funds: start-up costs when moving to Europe access to large facilities major equipment 19 StG/CoG: Eligibility extensions Eligibility window can be extended for following cases: Maternity leave: 1.5 years per child before or after PhD Paternity leave: for documented paternity leave taken before or after the PhD National service: documented time after PhD Long-term illness: documented time after PhD Clinical training: MD date plus 2 years (+ proof of doctoral equivalency) 10

11 StG/CoG: applicant s profile Demonstrated potential for research independence Ability to develop a ground-breaking idea, think out of the box Evidence of scientific maturity and creativity At least one (StG) /several (CoG) significant publications without participation of PhD supervisor Invited presentations in conferences Funding, patents, awards, prizes 21 AdG: applicant s profile Track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years Exceptional leaders and mentors 10 publications as senior author in major scientific journals 5 granted patents 10 invited presentations at international conferences 3 international conferences where Principal Investigator was an organiser International prizes/awards 22 11

12 Who can apply? Any nationality, any age or any current place of work In conjunction with a Host Institution based in EU or associated countries At least 50% of the time spent in EU or AC 23 Role of the host institution Hosts the PI and is located in an EU Member State or an Associated Country Signs the Grant Agreement Is a legal entity: university, research center, business research unit, etc. Is committed to ensure that the PI may: Apply for funding independently Manage research and funding project Publish independently as senior author Have access to reasonable space and facilities Overhead: 25% 24 12

13 Preparing an application Allow sufficient time to prepare your application Register early, get familiar with the system and templates and start filling in the forms Submit well in advance of the deadline submitted proposal can be revised until the call deadline (and overwritten if needed) Observe the rules for formatting and page limits; proof-read the proposal before submitting Double check that all documents are correct and have been submitted 25 Questions to ask yourself as an applicant Am I internationally competitive? Does my proposal promise to go substantially beyond the state of the art? (Are your competitors doing the same thing?) Is it high risk/high gain? Think Big! Do I have a plan B? Why am I the best/only person to carry it out? Do I have preliminary results? Is it feasible? Is it timely? (Why wasn't it done already?) 26 13

14 Proposal structure Administrative documentation Part A - online forms General information on research proposal Host Institution (HI) and applicant Budget Ethics Call-specific questions Annexes - submitted as.pdf Host Institution support letter Copy of PhD (or equivalent degree) certificate (StG & CoG) If applicable, document for extension of eligibility window (StG & CoG) If applicable explanatory information on ethical issues Documents sent to panel members in Step1: Part B1 submitted as.pdf Extended Synopsis 5p CV 2p Early achievements (StG & CoG) or 10-year track-record (AdG) 2p Documents sent to panel/reviewers in Step2: Part B2 submitted as.pdf Full Scientific Proposal 15p State-of-the-art and objectives Methodology Resources (incl project cost) Read the Information for Applicants 27 Hints and tips (Part B1) Pay particular attention to the ground-breaking nature of the research project no incremental research! State-of-the-art is not enough. Know your competitors what is the state of play and why is your idea and scientific approach outstanding? Only the extended Synopsis is read at Step 1: concise and clear presentation (evaluators are not necessarily all experts in the field) Outline of the methodological approach (feasibility) Demonstrate your (potential) for independence and creativity Show your ability to think outside the box Avoid any suspicion of plagiarism 14

15 Hints and tips (Part B2) Provide sufficient detail on methodology, work plan, selection of case studies etc. (15 pages) Check coherency of figures, justify requested resources Explain involvement of team members; avoid unnecessary partners/collaborators Provide alternative strategies to mitigate risk Scoring scheme Score 'A': Fully meets the ERC excellence criterion and is recommended for funding if sufficient funds are available. Score 'B': Meets some but not all of the ERC s excellence criterion and will not be funded. If score B is awarded in step 1, PI may not submit a proposal to any call in 2017! Score 'C': Proposal is not of sufficient quality to pass to Step 2 of the evaluation. The applicant may also be subject to resubmission limitations in the next call. PI may not submit a proposal to any call in 2017 and 2018! 30 15

16 Scoring Scheme A score: within panel budget A score: outside panel budget B score: not funded C score: non fundable Proposals for immediate funding. One or more reserve list proposals may be funded. Unfunded applicants can resubmit next year. Proposals rejected (Step 1 or 2). No resubmission next year if B awarded in step 1 Proposals rejected (Step 1). No resubmission next 2 years 31 Typical reasons for rejection Proposed project Scope: Too narrow too broad/unfocussed Incremental research/continuation of previous work Work plan/team composition not detailed enough/unclear Insufficient risk management Principal Investigator Insufficient track-record Insufficient leadership profile 32 16

17 Submission to Panels 25 panels covering all areas of science and scholarship: Life Sciences (LS) - 9 panels Physical Sciences & Engineering (PE) - 10 panels Social Sciences and Humanities (SH) - 6 panels Proposals are submitted to a Panel of PI's choice PI can flag one Secondary Review Panel Can explain the interdisciplinary nature of the proposal Transfer of proposals between panels may occur if clear mistake on part of applicant necessary expertise is available in a different panel But: In case of proposals spanning more than one panel or domain, evaluation by members of other panels possible 33 Restrictions of reapplications Increasing number of applications results in low success rates and high panel workload those who receive a B at Step 1 have to wait out one year those who receive a C have to wait out two years 17

18 What is Ethics Monitoring Definition Ethics Monitoring is part of the Ethics Review Process. Objective To ensure that the research carried out under ERC grants complies with fundamental ethical principles throughout the duration of the grant. 35 What are the ethical issues to be monitored? Human Embryonic Stem Cells or Foetal Tissue Scientific Evaluators to confirm NECESSITY to use hesc. Human cells/tissues Involvement of Human participants Involvement of Children in research is sensitive, so proposals with children get specific attention. Privacy and personal data Research on animals 3Rs, animal welfare - according to the new Directive Research in Low and Lower middle-income countries Use of local resources ; Benefit to local community Environement protection Dual Use/Misuse - Potential military/terrorist application 36 18

19 Granting Process is about: Concluding grant agreements with the Host Institutions of the selected Principal Investigators as fast as possible and paving the way for a smooth implementation of the project by: verifying that the DoA is aligned with the proposal reminding the eligibility of costs Establishing the GA set up: mono/multi, third parties/additional beneficiaries, start dates, ethics requirements. Making sure that the PI will be in a position to exert his/her rights (supervision of the project, management of budget, portavility ) further to ensuring the minimum commitments (project and Europe) Online process through the Participant portal 37 The H2020 Granting Process Overview The Grant Agreement Preparation: electronic exchange of information to prepare a Grant Agreement (GA). The goal of the information exchange is to produce the Grant Agreement (GA) and its Annexes including the Description of the Action. The process is as follows: 38 19

20 The H2020 Granting Process Overview Call deadline Info to beneficiaries: ESR (+ Invitation) Grant signature Evaluation Grant preparation: Interaction with PI and HI Pre-financing - Annex 1 - Annex 2 - Draft/ Signed Supplementary Agreement (min. of Art. 32) - Statement on Changes - PI passport (Advanced Grant) 100% of the average EU funding period 39 The H2020 Granting Process Detail 40 20

21 More information: ERC website: erc.europa.eu National Contact Point (NCP) erc.europa.eu/national-contact-points Follow us on EuropeanResearchCouncil ERC_Research 41 Projects funded by the ERC Search by: Call Year HI country 42 21

22 THANK YOU QUESTIONS? 43 ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants Evaluation Questions - Project 44 22

23 ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants Evaluation Questions - PI 45 23

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