The fundamental activity of the ERC is to provide attractive, long-term funding to support Principal Investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high-gain/high-risk research.
The ERC puts particular emphasis on the frontiers of science and scholarship. In particular, it encourages proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature which cross the boundaries between different fields of research, pioneering proposals addressing new and emerging fields of research or proposals introducing unconventional, innovative approaches and scientific inventions.
The ERC’s peer review evaluation process has been carefully designed to identify scientific excellence irrespective of the gender, age, nationality or institution of the Principal Investigator and other potential biases, and to take career breaks, as well as unconventional research career paths, into account. The evaluations are monitored to guarantee transparency, fairness and impartiality in the treatment of proposals.
In their proposal, Principal Investigators are requested to provide information on their track record, which may include a broad range of achievements. Depending on the research area of the Principal Investigator and their career stage, the track record is expected to include achievements such as peer reviewed journal publications, monographs and their translations, conference proceedings, invited presentations at major events, preprints, granted patents, and prizes and awards. Examples of achievements relevant in particular for Advanced Grant applicants include the organisation of major events, research expeditions, contributions to the early careers of researchers and examples of innovation leadership.
The number of peer reviewed publications and preprints that can be listed is limited to ten (five for Starting Grant applicants). While it is expected that the publications have a significant reach, applicants are explicitly asked not to include the Journal Impact Factor.
The ERC Work Programme sets out what type of achievements are expected for Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants respectively. In addition, applicants are free to include in their track record any other scientific achievements they deem relevant in relation to their research field and project. A short narrative describing the scientific importance of the research outputs listed and the role played by the Principal Investigator in their production may also be included.