European Research Council (ERC) Announces €632 million for 2021 Consolidator Grants

A total of 313 mid-career researchers will receive funding of up to €2 million each to help them conduct pioneering research.

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the results of the 2021 round of its Consolidator Grants, which help mid-career researchers consolidate their teams and conduct ground-breaking, pioneering research on topics of their choosing.

The grants are worth up to €2 million each over a period of five years, as well as an additional €1 million to cover:

  • Eligible ‘start-up’ costs for PIs moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant.
  • Purchase of major equipment.
  • Access to large facilities.
  • Other major experimental and field work costs, excluding personnel costs.

The 2021 round of funding launched in March 2021 and closed for applications on 20 April 2021. A total of 2,652 proposals were submitted, of which 313 will receive funding, a success rate of 11.8%, down from the previous year’s success rate of 13% when 2,506 applications were submitted.

Of the successful projects:

  • 130 will be based on research in physical sciences and engineering.
  • 95 will be based on life sciences research.
  • 88 will be based on research in the social sciences and humanities

Among the winners, 105 (33.5%) were female grantees, with men and women equally successful in winning the grants based on the proportion of applications submitted. Grants were awarded to researchers of 42 nationalities working in 24 countries, with Germany (61) UK (41) and France (29) receiving the highest number of grants.

UK-based scientists will still be able to receive the funds and stay in the UK provided that the UK associates to the Horizon Europe programme by the time they sign the grant agreement, as is the case for other recipients based in a country that is still negotiating association with the Horizon Europe programme.

Host institutions in Switzerland will not be eligible for funding. However, as this call closed for applications before the end of the negotiations between the EU and Switzerland, successful applicants in Swiss host institutions can still be funded provided they move to a host institution in an eligible country.

Commenting on the results, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel said:

“The results of this European Research Council grant competition are a testament to the impressive excellence of European research. I am proud that the EU can help top researchers thrive in Europe. Finding new solutions in the fields of energy, health or digital technologies is only possible if we can attract and keep scientific talent. Congratulations to all the grantees!”

Full details of all the winning researchers are available here.

The 2023 round of Consolidator Grants is scheduled to open on 28 September 2022 with a provisional deadline of 2 February 2023.

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