Proof of Concept Grants: ERC launches second call for proposals

25 November 2021

Recently, the European Research Council (ERC) launched the second call for proposals for the Proof of Concept Grants. Good news for researchers with ground-breaking ideas that might have a huge impact on society and the world! The available budget is 25 million euros, and there will be three deadlines, starting in February 2022.

What is the European Research Council?

The fundamental activity of the ERC is to provide attractive, long-term funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high-gain/high-risk research. It does so via its main frontier research grants (Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant, Advanced Grant and Synergy Grant). Research funded by the ERC is expected to lead to advances at the frontiers of knowledge and set a clear and inspirational target for frontier research across Europe.

What is the Proof of Concept Grant about?

Frontier research often generates radically new ideas that drive innovation and business inventiveness and tackle societal challenges. The ERC Proof of Concept Grants aim at facilitating exploration of the commercial and social innovation potential of ERC funded research. It is, so to say, additional funding on top of an already received ERC Grant.

Who can apply?

Principal Investigators can apply for a Proof of Concept Grant. They are expected to be active researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years. All Principal Investigators in one of the main grants are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. Principal Investigators in a main grant that is either ongoing or has ended less than 12 months before 1 January 2022 are eligible to apply for the second call for proposals of the Proof of Concept Grants (ERC-2022-PoC2). The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the relation between the idea to be taken to proof of concept and the ERC frontier research project in question.

The host institution (Applicant Legal Entity) must engage the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the proof of concept project as defined in the grant agreement and must be established in a Member State or an Associated Country as a legal entity created under national law.

Which proposals qualify?

The Proof of Concept Grant will cover activities aimed at exploring the pathway from ground-breaking research towards innovation or a socially valuable proposition. This includes work required to prepare the translation of the idea into a practical application, and research needed to test, validate, and develop the idea further.

Grant amount, duration and deadlines

The Proof of Concept Grant will be awarded as a lump sum of EUR 150,000 for a period of 18 months. Typically, the ERC expects that proof-of-concept activities can be completed within 12 months; however, the grant agreements will be signed for 18 months to allow for those projects that require more preparation time. Applications can be submitted at any time from the opening date of the call until the final deadline. Under call ERC-2022-PoC2, applications will be evaluated and selected in three rounds, based on three specific cut-off dates: 15 February, 19 May and 29 September 2022 17:00:00 Brussels time.

It is all about excellence

Proposals will be checked by the ERC Executive Agency and evaluated by five external experts. For ERC Proof of Concept Grants, ‘excellence’ is the sole criterion for evaluation just as it is for the main ERC Grants. The excellence criterion is broken down into three evaluation elements:
1) the breakthrough innovation potential
2) the approach and methodology of the project
3) the capacity and commitment of the principal investigator(s).

How to apply for a Proof of Concept Grant?

Are you a leader in your field, and do you have a new idea with great breakthrough potential? Have you come up with a revolutionary solution for a long-standing problem? Then you may consider applying to the Proof of Concept Grant. At ttopstart, we are experts in challenging your idea and elevating your concept to ERC excellence standards. Do you aspire to win an ERC Proof of Concept Grant? Get in touch with our team of consultants who are experts in co-creating winning ERC proposals.

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