ERC Announces First 2023 Proof of Concept Grants Recipients

A total of 66 researchers will receive top-up funding worth €150,000 to help them bridge the gap from the outcomes of their research to developing practical applications and early commercialisation.

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the results of the first 2023 round of the Proof of Concept Grants.

ERC Proof of Concept Grants are each worth €150,000 and are available to existing or recent recipients of one of the four main ERC awards (Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants) to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated during the course of their ERC-funded projects. The awards support activities that were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC grant, with eligible activities including the following:

  • Testing, experimenting, demonstrating and validating the idea.
  • Conducting research required to achieve proof of concept and to address the weaknesses uncovered by them.
  • Establishing viability, technical issues and overall direction.
  • Clarifying IPR protection or knowledge transfer strategy.
  • Involving industrial partners, societal or cultural organisations, policymakers or any other potential stakeholder supporting the translation of research results into innovation.
  • Assessing potential ‘end users’ of the expected innovation.

A total of 66 proposals were selected for funding under the first 2023 round of Proof of Concept grants, out of 122 evaluated proposals. The selected projects cover a variety of different fields and activities including developing a new way to detect space debris, the introduction of artificial soil to screen plants’ nutritional needs from below ground, and developing a cheap and reliable method to detect ovarian cancer.

Grants have been awarded to researchers working in the following 16 countries: the UK (12 grants), Germany (9), Spain (8), France (6), Italy (6), Belgium (4), Israel (4), Netherlands (4), Denmark (3), Norway (2), Sweden (2), and Austria (2). In addition, one grant was awarded to researchers based in Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, and Finland.

UK recipients will only be eligible to receive funding if the Horizon Europe association agreement has been approved by the time of the signature of the grant agreement. However, successful applicants based at UK host institutions can still be funded provided they move to a host institution in an eligible country.

Applications for the final 2023 round of Proof of Concept grants are currently open with a 21 September 2023 deadline.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)