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On 17 December, the European Commission (EC) announced a new pilot programme – the ERA Chairs. The aim of this programme is to help close the research and innovation gap in Europe, by supporting universities or research institutions in less develop areas in Europe. In doing so, these universities and research institutions will more likely reach the level of excellence required to be internationally competitive.
In the first phase of the call, now underway, the EC will identify and select, through a competitive process, the institutions in which an ERA Chair will be established. Universities or other research institutions with a non-profit mission located in a convergence/less developed region are eligible to apply. In the application, the institutions will need to present their vision, strategy, and a sustainable business plan. They will also need to identify the research area in which they wish to have an ERA Chair and explain how this Chair will be integrated in the institution. The application stage is open until 30 May 2013, and the EC will evaluate the proposals over summer. The first grant agreements are expected to be formalized in December 2013. The second phase is foreseen to start in early 2014, when the successful research institutions will publish the vacancy and select the ERA Chair.
The budget from this pilot programme is EUR 12 million and each successful proposal will receive up to EUR 2.4 million for a period of up to five years. A maximum of one grant per country will be awarded. If the ERA Chairs pilot programme is successful, the EC proposes to fund a larger number of ERA Chairs under Horizon 2020.European Commission – Press Release European Commission – ERA Chairs