The main aim of the European Research Council (ERC), established in 2007, is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, engineers and scholars to be adventurous and take risks in their research. Ultimately, the ERC aims to make the European research base more prepared to respond to the needs of a knowledge-based society.
ERC is a flagship component of the 'Ideas Programme' of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The idea is to complement other funding activities in Europe such as those of national research funding agencies. One major difference compared with other EU grants is that the ERC's grants are aimed for individual researchers, and do not relate to network formation. The ambition is, moreover, to make it easier to apply for ERC funding than it has been in previous Framework Programmes. ERC supports individual researchers in all academic fields, and encourages research that goes beyond established frontiers of knowledge and the boundaries of discipline.
Several types of ERC grants are available to support researchers in carrying out frontier research projects: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. All aim at supporting the strength of European research and development.
Information regarding these grants can be found via the links in the column to the right.
An application for a grant should be submitted by a single "Principal Investigator" (PI) in conjunction with and on behalf of her/his "hosting institution". The hosting institution must be situated in the European Union or in an Associated Country. The institution can be any legal entity (public or private), which has the infrastructure and capacity to carry out a frontier research project, such as a university, research organisation or research-performing company. The PI must also have the authority to publish research data.
The ERC is headed by a Scientific Council composed of 22 distinguished researchers from the whole of Europe. One of them is Carl-Henrik Heldin, the former Board member at the Swedish Research Council. The Scientific Council defines the scientific funding strategy and methodologies, whereas the ERC Executive Agency implements and applies these strategies and methodologies in the management and operations of the ERC funding activities.
Enquiries regarding ERC grants can be sent to EU-officers at Swedish universities or directly to the European Commission via their Help desk (see link to the right).
The Swedish Research Council has been commissioned to maintain a National Contact Point (NCP) towards ERC, in cooperation with the European Programmes at the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA).