What is the ERC (European Research Council)? Find more information here:

-ERC Work Programme 2018
-ERC website
-Euresearch: the Swiss guide to European research & innovation

Q: Can I use special characters in the acronym of the project?

Special characters are not recommended for the acronyms. The main reason is due to IT compatibilities. ERCEA are using different data stores and IT systems throughout the evaluation process, and they are afraid that superscript would not be recognised and properly represented.
We therefore do not advise applicants using such characters.

Q: ERC CoG 2018: When will be the dates for the interview step 2?

Around two weeks after the Step 1 Panel Meetings, the ERCEA are sending a first communication to applicants who passed to Step 2 of the evaluation (this should be in June 2018). In the letter that they receive, it is indicated the exact dates of the week in which they are supposed to be interviewed and it is asked that they keep this week free.
In case the applicant cannot come to Brussels on this particular week, the alternative is to organise a videoconference. Since Panel Members are only invited to Brussels for one week (all the proposals of one panel are evaluated in one week), it is not possible for the applicant to be interviewed on another week.

Q: Synergy grant: Do I have to submit my proposal to a dedicated panel, similar to the Starting, Consolidator, and Advanced Grants?

No, the structure of the panels is not pre-defined and will be decided dynamically in relation to the proposals received. The Synergy Grants are evaluated in three steps after a single submission of the full proposal. At each step the structure of the panels may be re-configured to care for best expertise. The evaluation is based on the expertise of 80 panel members and chairs.

Q: Do all PIs of a Synergy project need a letter of commitment from their host institutions?

Only the Corresponding PI has to provide a letter of committment of his/her host institution, listing the other participating PIs.

Q: Do all the PIs of a Synergy project have to be at the same host institution?

No, there is no rule which says that all the PIs have to be from the same host institution. It is more important to show that the group of PIs is exactly the one which will lead to the expected "breakthroughs". From a practical point of view, this also needs to be reflected in the working arrangements which are part of the evaluation criteria.

Q: What are the re-submission rules for the Synergy Grant?

The Scientific Council intends to apply the following restrictions:
A SyG-proposal which was evaluated as category B at step 1 or step 2 for the call 2018 may not submit a SyG for the call 2019.
A PI whose SyG-proposal was evaluated as category C at step 1 for the call 2018 may not submit a proposal to any ERC grant calls 2019 or for SyG call 2020.

Synergy Grant: Are the evaluation panels the same as in the Starting and the Advanced Grants?

No, the panels are not pre-defined. Approximately 80 panel members and chairs will form the step 1 panels, in step 2 the same panel members will be grouped into 5 panels to ensure the best expertise. In step 3 (interview panels), the panels might again be reconfigured for the best expertise for the proposals. So the whole process is quite dynamic and fully depends on the content of the proposals received.

Q: How many Synergy grants will be awarded?

The perspective is to fund 25-30 projects for the call 2018 for grants to a maximum of 10Mio Euros for 6 years.

Q:How many proposals were evaluated for which grant in which year ?

There is a statistics tool available on the ERC website in the section “Projects & Figures”/"Statistics". This is the  direct link .
You can retrieve any ERC related statistics using this tool. You can sort and filter data according to funding schemes, call year, domain/panel and/or by country of host-institute. To retrieve success rates you can distinguish between evaluated projects and granted projects. Data is exportable as graph and/or csv format.
The statistic tool on the ERC Website is currently under construction with some features not yet in place!

Switzerland is fully associated to H2020!

As of December 2016 Switzerland is again fully associated to H2020. Because of the partial association of CH to the excellence-pillar from 9.14-12.16, researchers based in CH were eligible to ERC funding for almost the entire duration of the non-association, would however have lost access to ERC funding for the rest of H2020 if CH could not have become fully associated to H2020 from 2017 onwards.

Study on perfomance of Swiss SSH researchers in the ERC published

While researchers based in Switzerland are remarkably successful in securing ERC grants both in the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences and Engineering domains,  Social Sciences and Humanities researchers based in Switzerland do not particularly well in ERC competitions. To elucidate the situation and identify possible reasons for it, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has commissioned a dedicated study. The report by Interface and Technolopolis as well as actions taken by the SNSF to meet their recommendations has now been published:

What are typical success rates of ERC proposals?

The average success rate for:
  • Starting Grants (2007-2016) is 9.7
  • Consolidator Grants (2013-2016) is 13.1
  • Advanced Grants(2008-2015) is 13.3
  • Proof of Concept Grants (2011-2015) is 34.6
  • Synergy Grants (2012-2013) is 2.1
You can find the overview on the statistics site of the ERC.
The 2013 Starting and Consolidator grant calls have seen a significant increase in numbers of proposals with a resulting drop in the success rates below 10%. As a means for an increase in success rates, re-submission rules have become more stringent since 2014. Note that the success rates of researchers applying with Swiss host institutions have always been above average.

Rules for re-submission of proposals from 2014 onwards

To manage over-subscription, the ERC introduced re-submission rules in 2014. For the current Workprogramme 2018, these are the following:

Call 2017
Evaluation Step 2
 Step 2
Re-submission 2018?
StG, CoG, AdG

Call 2017
Evaluation Step 1
Re-submission 2018?
StG, CoG, AdG
NO for StG, CoG, AdG; YES for SyG

Call 2016/2017   
Evaluation Step 1
Re-submission 2018?
StG, CoG, AdG
NO for StG, CoG, AdG; YES for SyG

Call 2018
Evaluation Step 1  
Step 2
NO for SyG 2019
NO for StG, CoG, AdG 2019
NO for SyG 2020


Latest news about the Synergy Grants!

The ERC Synergy Grant scheme, which ran under two pilot calls in 2012 and 2013 was re-launched in the ERC Work Programme 2018. The call was published on 3rd August, with a deadline on 14th November 2017. The perspective is to fund 25 to 30 projects in 2018, with grants of maximum 10 M€ for up to 6 years.

Work Programme 2018 is published!

The ERC Work Programme 2018, was published end of July. It contains important general information on the ERC as well as rules and specificities for the individual calls. Together with the call-specific official document "Information for Applicants" it is an absolute must to study for everyone planning to submit an ERC proposal.