The European Research Council (ERC) has released new details of its Advanced Grant scheme, which will provide research funding to Europe’s very best researchers. As explained by ERC President
Fotis Kafatos, the application process and evaluation methodology have been refined since this year’s launch of the Starting Grant scheme.

‘In designing the programme, the Scientific Council has taken account of the experience of the first ERC call for Starting Grant proposals, particularly as regards the very high level of demand
for ERC funding in the first call for proposals [9,000 applications were received]. We have refined the application process and the evaluation methodology and incorporated features to encourage
proposals at the right level of ambition and promise, including those that cross the boundaries between disciplines and which explore new fields,’ said Professor Kafatos.

The elements of modification are: a 10-year track record (indicators are specified); a specified leadership profile; new rules on reapplications and multiple applications; and the requirement
to submit a complete proposal rather than a project outline. Together, these elements are intended to ensure the highest quality of both the Principal Investigator and the project.

A highly successful call for proposals for the Starting Grant was launched earlier this year, and now it is the turn of the Advanced Grant. The scheme will fund Europe’s very best research
projects and researchers with around ?4 billion over the next six years. Each grant will have an upper limit of ?3,500,000 for a period of five years. The first call will release around ?517
million, and is due to open on 30 November.

‘This high profile Europe-wide programme is designed to bring forward the most ambitious, far-reaching research projects without restriction on the field of study, and to support the most
talented established investigators, regardless of nationality, for projects conducted in Europe,’ said Professor Kafatos.

Applicants for the Advanced Grant must be active researchers with a track record of significant achievements over the last 10 years (for example 10 publications as senior author, five patents
if applicable, 10 invited presentations etc.). Potential Principal Investigators may include Europeans living abroad or non-EU nationals who wish to establish themselves in Europe.

Proposals will be assessed solely on the basis of scientific excellence.

The ERC was created under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research (FP7). It is the first pan-European funding body set up to support investigator-driven frontier research. Its main
aim is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, creative scientists, engineers and academics to be adventurous and take risks in their research. The
scientists should go beyond established frontiers of knowledge and the boundaries of disciplines.