Frontier research often generates unexpected or new opportunities for commercial or societal application. The ERC Proof of Concept Grants aim to maximise the value of the excellent research that the ERC funds, by funding further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC frontier research grant) to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects. Proof of Concept Grants are therefore on offer only to Principal Investigators whose proposals draw substantially on their ERC funded research.
All proposals will be subject to ethics review as with proposals for the ERC's frontier research grants.
Maximum size of grant and grant assessment
The financial contribution will be up to a maximum of EUR 150 000 for a period of 18 months. The ERC expects that normally, proof of concept projects should be completed within 12 months. However, to allow for those projects that require more preparation time, projects will be signed for 18 months. Given this initial flexibility, extensions of the duration of proof of concept projects may be granted only exceptionally.
The overall level of the funding offered will be assessed during the evaluation. The funding requested by the applicant will be judged against the needs of the proposed activity before award. The funding requested by the Principal Investigator must be fully justified by an estimation of the actual costs for the proposed activities.
The Union financial contribution will take the form of the reimbursement of up to 100% of the total eligible and approved direct costs and of flat-rate financing of indirect costs on the basis of 25% of the total eligible direct costs (excluding the direct costs for subcontracting and the costs of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the host institution.). The level of the awarded grant represents a maximum overall figure – the final amount to be paid must be justified on the basis of the costs actually incurred for the project.
The indicative budget for this call for 2018 is EUR 20 000 000 (approximately one-third of which will be for each of the three evaluation rounds following three specific cut-off dates - proposals submitted before each cut-off date will be evaluated with the proposals submitted before the same cut-off date).
Profile of the ERC Proof of Concept Grant Principal Investigator
All Principal Investigators in an ERC frontier research project, that is either on going or has ended (where the duration of the project fixed in the ERC Grant Agreement has ended) less than 12 months before 1 January 2018, are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant.
For further information please refer to the ERC Work Programme 2018.