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The final grant scheme on offer is the proof of concept grant. With

exclusive access to ERC grant holders only, this funding stream helps to

‘bridge the gap’ between research and the market. The scheme was

launched in 2011 and grants are worth a maximum of €150,000.

Through Horizon 2020, the European Commission is providing multiple

opportunities for European researchers to apply for grants, with multiple

calls open through the research and innovation framework programme.

Securing the pioneers

ERC grants and funding pioneering research are of vital importance to

the EU. Through the council, the Union has established a body that will

secure a future to tomorrow’s science whilst at the same time aiding

competitiveness and helping bring new products to market.

Following the deal between the European Parliament, the Council of the

European Union, and the European Commission on the new European

Fund for Strategic Investments, part of President Jean-Claude Juncker’s

Investment Plan for Europe, the ERC has, along with the Marie

Skłodowska-Curie Actions and the ‘Spreading excellence and widening

participation cross-cutting’ pillar, had its budget secured from any

possible funding reductions. Such a move by EU policy makers signals

and demonstrates the importance of this organisation to the continent’s

researchers, thus helping Europe stay at the cutting edge.

organometallic synthesis and borylenes-based

pi-conjugated materials.”

The 2012 discovery that short boron chains can

be constructed by linking single boron atoms

was presented in the prestigious journal

Nature

Chemistry,

and the work was a major milestone

in the ongoing search for a completely new type

of polymer made up of boron-only chains,

which remains a major synthetic challenge.

ERC grants

Receiving significantly greater funding under

Horizon 2020 compared to the Seventh

Framework Programme, the ERC has access to

a budget of over €13bn under the EU’s latest

research and innovation framework

programme. The blue sky funding body sits

under the Excellent Science pillar and offers

Europe’s pioneering researchers access to four

schemes to secure funding. Grants are divided

between the areas of ‘Life Sciences’, ‘Social

sciences and humanities’ and ‘Physical

sciences and engineering’ and are considered

the most renowned grants offered to single

researchers. The awards provide funding that

allows awardees to undertake ambitious

investigative projects.

Starting grants provide promising young

researchers with between two and seven years

of experience following the granting of their

PhD, then up to €2m of funding over five years.

The ERC describes the grants as ‘aiming to

support up-and-coming research leaders who

are about to establish a proper research team

and to start conducting independent research

in Europe’.

Consolidator grants are on offer to researchers

who are partly through their career and who

possess between seven and 12 years of

experience. With grants of up to €2.75m

available, the organisation defines the grants

as ‘designed to support researchers at the

stage at which they are consolidating their own

independent research team or programme’.

For more experienced and established

researchers, ERC advanced grants are

available. According to the ERC, this funding

stream is available to ‘excellent established

researchers who have a recent research track

record which identifies them as leaders in their

respective field of research’. Available grants

amount to €3.5m.

B R OW S E

www.uni-wuerzburg.de www.erc.europa.eu

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

63

C H E M I S T R Y

The sole criterion for

gaining an ERC frontier

research grant is

‘scientific excellence’