The ERC in Horizon Europe: What will change?

The European Research Council (ERC) is the first public funding agency established by the European Commission (EC) in 2007 with the aim of supporting bottom-up scientific and technological research in Europe. Every year, the ERC rewards hundreds of world-class universities and researchers with highly competitive and ground-breaking ideas, and to date seven ERC grantees have won Nobel Prizes. This grant is an important part of the European funding programme Horizon 2020, representing 17% of the overall budget (€ 13.1 billion). By the end of this year, the latest framework programme (FP) Horizon 2020 will be closed and the new FP9 “Horizon Europe” will run from 2021 to 2027 with a budget of approximately € 100 billion.

A lot will change within this new programme. In this article I will specifically focus on the major novelties in the 2021-2022 ERC calls.

ERC Novelties in Horizon Europe

The ERC will continue to fund individual scientists to build their own teams and carry out pioneering research across all disciplines under Pillar 1- Excellent Science with the following novelties in 2021:

  • The call openings and closings of the work programme are shifted due to the transition to Horizon Europe.
  • The Synergy grant is not included under the 2021 work programme due to the delay. Nevertheless, it will be available again in 2022.
  • The Advanced grant applicants will be invited for an interview in Step 2 of the evaluations unlike H2020 evaluations.
  • The ERC panel structure has been revised to reflect scientific reality better and two new panels (SH7- Human Mobility Environment and Space and PE11- Materials Engineering) have been introduced to ERC 2021-2022 calls. More information on these panels will be given after publishing the calls.

The details of the revised panel structure for ERC calls can be found here.

Furthermore, a reduction of the ERC budget is expected to be around 10% (€ 1.3 billion) in Horizon Europe between 2021 and 2027. However, the proposed budget cut is still under discussion.

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If you have any questions concerning the EU grants and our support, please let us know. My colleagues and I are pleased to help you!

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