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.
Eligible 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 the opening date of this call, are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant.
A Principal Investigator whose proposal was rejected on the grounds of a breach of research integrity in the calls for proposals under Work Programmes 2014 or 2015 may not submit a proposal to the calls for proposals made under Work Programme 2016.
All proposals must be complete and be submitted before the relevant call deadline. Incomplete proposals may be declared ineligible.
The content of the proposal must relate to the objectives and to the grant type set out in the call, as defined in this work programme. A proposal will only be deemed ineligible on grounds of ‘scope’ in clear-cut cases.
Where there is a doubt on the eligibility of a proposal, the peer review evaluation may proceed pending a decision following an eligibility review committee. If it becomes clear before, during or after the peer review evaluation phase, that one or more of the eligibility criteria has not been met, the proposal will be declared ineligible and not considered any further.
Applicants will need to demonstrate the relation between the idea to be taken to proof of concept and the ERC frontier research project (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy) in question.
More than one Proof of Concept Grant may be awarded per ERC funded frontier research project but only one Proof of Concept project may be running at any one time for the same ERC frontier research project [[This limit also applies to Synergy projects.]].
Eligible Host Institution
The host institution (Applicant Legal Entity [[Please see important information for Principal Investigators, Candidates, Tenderers and Grant Applicants on possible registration of legal entities in the Commission's Early Warning System (EWS) and Central Exclusion Database (CED) on final page.]]) 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[[It may also be an International European Interest Organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), or an entity created under EU law. Any type of legal entity, public or private, including universities, research organisations as well as undertakings can host the Principal Investigator and his/her team.]].
Please also refer to Annex 3 - Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 and Restrictions Applying to Some Legal Entities Established in Certain Third Countries.
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 2016 is EUR 20 000 000 (approximately one-third of which will be for each of the three evaluation rounds following three specific deadlines - proposals submitted before each cut-off date will be evaluated with the proposals submitted before the same cut-off date).