Horizon Europe: Excellent Science - European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grants

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European Commission
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The European Research Council (ERC) is part of Pillar I - Excellent Science and provides attractive, long-term funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high gain and high risk research. 

Research funded by the ERC is expected to lead to advances at the frontiers of knowledge and to set a clear and inspirational target for frontier research across Europe. It operates using an 'investigator-driven' approach based solely on scientific excellence to solicit new opportunities and directions in any field of research, as identified by researchers themselves, rather than support priorities set by parties outside of the research community. This 'bottom-up' attitude to research funding ensures that support is aimed primarily at new and promising opportunities, with a greater degree of flexibility.

The ERC Synergy Grant addresses ambitious research questions that can only be answered by the coordinated work of a small group of two to four principal Investigators (PIs), known as the 'Synergy Grant Group'. This will facilitate the bringing together of complementary skills, knowledge and resources in new and unconventional ways, with the aim to promote substantial advances at the frontiers of knowledge, to cross-fertilise scientific fields, and to encourage new productive lines of enquiry and new methods and techniques, including unconventional approaches and investigations at the interface between established disciplines.

Applications may be made in any field of research. Support is available for frontier research. Proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields and applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches are particularly encouraged.

The budget for Synergy Grants in Work Programme 2024 is €400 million to fund an estimated 39 grants.

Synergy Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of €10 million for a period of six years. The maximum award is reduced pro rata temporis for projects of a shorter duration. This does not apply to ongoing projects.


Applicants must present an early achievement track-record or a 10-year track-record - whichever is most appropriate for their career stage. Applicants Principal Investigators (PIs) must demonstrate the synergies, complementarities and added value that could lead to breakthroughs that would not be possible by the individual Principal Investigators working alone.

Proposals are submitted by a group of two to four PIs - of which one will be designated as the corresponding PI (cPI) - working together and bringing different skills and resources to tackle ambitious research problems. PIs can apply within the same host institutions (HIs) or through different HIs.

While HIs must usually be established in an EU Member State or Associated Country, one PI per Synergy Grant Group, except the cPI, may be hosted and engaged by an institution in a Third Country. In all cases, the ERC expects the composition of a Synergy Grant Group to remain unchanged throughout the lifetime of the grant, so all HIs must engage the Principal Investigators for at least the duration of the grant.

PIs must intend to spend at least 30% of their working time on the ERC project. Additionally, PIs engaged and hosted by an institution in the EU or Associated Countries must spend at least 50% of their time in an EU Member State or Associated Country.

The grant is awarded to the institution that engages and hosts the Principal Investigator. Public or private institutions, including universities, research organisations and undertakings can host the Principal Investigator.


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