European Research Council Unveils €2.2 billion Work Programme for 2023

Funding will support over 1,000 excellent scientists and scholars in the EU and Associated Countries, while a new award will support journalists seeking to better understand frontier research.

The European Commission has adopted the 2023 Work Programme of the European Research Council (ERC), unlocking €2.2 billion funding to support excellent scientists 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 12 July 2022, closing 25 October 2022.
  • Consolidator Grants – For excellent researchers with 7 to 12 years’ experience after PhD: Opening 28 September 2022, closing 2 February 2023.
  • Advanced Grants – For established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements: Opening 8 December 2022, closing 23 May 2023.
  • Synergy Grants – For groups of two to four PIs to address ambitious research questions requiring coordinated work: Opening 13 July 2022, closing 8 November 2022.
  • 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 20 October 2022, cut-off dates: 24 January 2023, 20 April 2023, 14 September 2023.

The 2023 Work Programme introduces a number of changes to the programme. The budget for the early-stage commercialisation exploratory Proof of Concept Grants will increase from €25 million to €30 million this year. Additionally, the Work Programme enables an extension to the eligibility windows for Starting and Consolidator Grants candidates who are seeking asylum or who are victims of a natural disaster.

The Work Programme also introduces a new award specifically for journalists. Known as the ERC Science Journalism Initiative, the award will support journalists wishing to spend time (approximately three to five months) at research institutions in order to better understand frontier research.

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