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The ERC grants are not like other grants

Published Sep 13, 2021

Jeanna Ayoubi works at RSO as an EU-grants specialist and is KTH's main administrative contact person with the European Commission, so-called LEAR (Legal Administrative Representative). She is responsible for the support for ERC grants, from application to project implementation, and is in close contact with the European Research Council and the National Contact Point, NCP. As a result, she has good knowledge of the latest news in this type of research funding.

Portrait image of Jeanna Ayoubi, EU specialist and Research Advisor, RSO
Jeanna Ayoubi, EU specialist and research advisor, RSO. Photo: Olov Holdar.

- I am proud and happy to be able to help those who work hard on their research and apply for ERC grants, which is one of the most prestigious research funding grants in Europe given on an individual basis. RSO organises regular information meetings and hands-on workshops to help potential applicants to understand: Am I ready and eligible to apply? Should I do it this year or wait and prepare for the next year’s call? If we succeed in explaining all the requirements, then we have done our part.

- It is possible to apply several times to get "practice", but it is not always a good method when it comes to ERC grants since you might end up in quarantine and be barred from applying in the coming years. The competition is fierce and the re-submission restrictions are necessary to make it possible for reviewers to handle the large number of applications submitted each year. Our experience shows that those who puts in lots of effort and prepare their applications well in advance are those who succeed.

Starting Grants, Advanced Grants, Consolidator Grants

A workshop for Starting Grant applicants is scheduled for 7 October, in connection to the new call expected to be published on 23 September. The aim of the workshop is to look through the application templates, making sure that the applicants are aware of the call requirements and formalities. A few weeks later, Malin Hedengran, Senior Research Advisor at RSO, continues with a hands-on workshop on how to write a good ERC proposal focusing on what reviewers expect in an application.

- It is especially rewarding to support those who apply for a Starting Grant (StG) , as we help younger researchers in their early careers to get the opportunity to create their own research groups and break free from their supervisor.

- On the other hand, it is equally exciting and a great honor to support those applying for the Advanced Grant (AdG) , which is awarded to the most experienced senior researchers in Europe. Those who receive this grant not only perform excellent research themselves but also attract and recruit young talents to KTH. Seven KTH researchers sent in their applications for AdG in this year call. We wish them all best of luck!

An application for an ERC grant can sometimes receive the highest score, but with no funding. This happens because of the large number of applications and the budgetary limits of the call. It has been an issue for discussion on both national and local level. Being highly ranked by ERC is an excellent quality control, thus the question is how to take advantage of these excellent project proposals? One of the solutions in place (for StG only) is funding given by a number of Swedish private foundations.

- A highly ranked application can be put on a reserve list awaiting the final decision from ERC. This was the case recently, which resulted in KTH receiving another Consolidator Grant (CoG) .

- After several months of waiting, we got a positive answer from ERC that Dr Maurice Duits (SCI School) will be awarded a CoG grant worth 2 million euros for a 5-years project called "Patterns in Random Tilings” (PiRaT). RSO sends our warmest congratulations to the grantee!

Synergy Grant and Proof of Concept

The idea of the Synergy Grant (SyG)  is to solve the most complicated research problems that can result in new, groundbreaking discoveries and technologies. Applicants should be a group of 2-4 excellent Principal Investigators, each assisted by a team of researchers, who are capable to take the research problem to a new level and move it forward. This year's call has a deadline for applications on November 16. Contact RSO if you are interested in applying.
The Proof of Concept (PoC)  grant is intended for researchers who already have an ERC grant and want to explore whether the results of their research can be commercialised or benefit society in other ways.

Communication on ERC projects

The ERC is increasingly making efforts to make the ERC grantees and their projects accessible to a larger audience. They have launched the ERC awards, they make films and a new initiative, ERC Comics explains science in the form of comic strips.

- Sharing information and stories about the ERC grantees and their projects are important as they also contribute to KTH's brand and ranking. We are now compiling an overview of those with ongoing ERC projects at KTH and will increase their visibility in various ways. Read more about the support for ERC grants at KTH research support intranet pages .

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Page responsible:Marianne Norén
Belongs to: KTH Intranet
Last changed: Sep 13, 2021