European Research Council Announces €2.2 billion Work Programme for 2024

Work Programme unveiled as applications open for ERC Starting Grants and Synergy Grants.

The European Commission has adopted the 2024 Work Programme of the European Research Council (ERC), unlocking €2.2 billion to enable excellent scientists to develop their own ground-breaking frontier research.

Researchers of any age, nationality and discipline will be supported provided they work in EU Member States or Associated Countries or are willing to move from other parts of the world to do so. The ERC utilises an investigator-driven or ‘bottom-up’ approach to frontier research, and prioritises scientific excellence as the key measure of assessing proposals.

The ERC offers four core grants: Starting Grants, Consolidator GrantsAdvanced Grants and Synergy Grants, as well as the Proof of Concept Grant scheme to help ERC grant recipients bridge the gap between their research and the early stages of its commercialisation.

The grants and their scheduled opening and deadline dates are as follows:

  • Starting Grants – For promising early career researchers with 2 to 7 years’ experience after PhD: Opening 11 July 2023, closing 24 October 2023.
  • Consolidator Grants – For excellent researchers with 7 to 12 years’ experience after PhD: Opening 12 September 2023, closing 12 December 2023.
  • Advanced Grants – For established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements: Opening 29 May 2024, closing 29 August 2024.
  • Synergy Grants – For groups of two to four PIs to address ambitious research questions requiring coordinated work: Opening 12 July 2023, closing 8 November 2023.
  • Proof of Concept Grants – For PIs engaged in ERC-funded research projects to fund further work to verify the potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects: Opening 16 November 2023, cut-off dates: 14 March 2024, 17 September 2024.

The 2024 Work Programme introduces a number of changes to the programme. Significantly, Advanced Grants will be implemented as a pilot call using a lump sum contribution, based on the work carried out and reported, irrespective of the actual costs incurred for the project and/or the successful outcome of the project activities. Starting, Consolidator, and Synergy Grants will continue to be offered under the actual cost model.

Proof of Concept grants will now have two cut-off dates rather than three as were used previously, while a new evaluation panel (SH8) has been created in the Social Sciences and Humanities domain to restore the balance between the coverage of social sciences and humanities.

Further details of the Work Programme are available at the ERC website.

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