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The European Research Council (ERC) has announced its 2018 Work Programme, which establishes the budget for the new series of frontier research grants for excellence in science and outlines further actions to advance the ERC’s strategic objectives and missions.
The ERC Work Programme, which has been adopted by the European Commission, allocates a total of EUR 1.86 billion for the coming round of grant competitions, of which a large proportion is set aside to benefit early- to mid-career researchers. Further, the new programme sees important support for close collaborative initiatives by the re-introduction of Synergy Grants.
This move follows-up on the ERC Scientific Council’s decision end of last year to bring back Synergy Grants, which aim to fund close collaborative ventures between two to four scientists tackling ambitious research problems, often of cross-disciplinary nature, to generate ground breaking discoveries. By allocating funding worth EUR 250 million in the coming year for the Synergy Grant call, which awards up to EUR 10 million for projects with a duration of six years, the ERC Scientific Council builds on successful pilot projects in 2012 and 2013 and the ambition to advance collaborative frontier research in new fields.
Both the Starting- and Synergy Grants competitions have opened for applications this month and the further well known funding schemes – Consolidator, Advanced, as well as the Proof of Concept Grants - are anticipated to open in September and October. (An indicative summary and calendar of the main ERC calls from 2018 can be viewed in the Work Programme 2018)
Within the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, ERC grants are key to championing innovative breakthroughs by recognising and rewarding the brightest of minds. Combined, the ERC’s funding schemes with the coming year’s budget are anticipated to benefit around 900 promising researchers across Europe and create about 6 000 PHD, Post-Doctoral and other scientific positions through the building of project and research teams.