Interesting developments for the ERC in the future

Interesting developments for the ERC in the future

By Ingemar Pongratz


The planning for Horizon Europe, the successor of the current Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme is ongoing and there are a lot of news, comments and discussions on this in place. We at Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting are closely following the stream of news to make sure that we will be able to provide top quality service in the future as well.

By following the news stream, we can follow the discussion, understand the arguments that the different sides make. This also helps our clients in the preparation of future EU proposals.

Currently, all areas of the European funding horizon are under discussion, including for example the European Research Council (ERC) which is part of the Horizon 2020 programme. From the academic perspective the is a very interesting scheme. ERC support excellent frontier research and is primarily focused on research excellence and high risk high gain projects. However, from an European perspective, ERC is complicated. An there are Interesting developments for the ERC in the future

The majority of successful ERC funded projects are located in countries like Germany, France, UK. European member states which are still in the process of developing the research infrastructure or which have suffered from reduced funding for research are not as successful in attracting ERC funded projects. In fact, there is a concern that ERTC funding is supporting a brain drain from certain European members states.

This imbalance has resulted in considerable concern. Recently, Dan Nica, a member of the European Parliament has suggested that research excellence should not be the only factor that evaluators should consider during the evaluation of ERC proposals. Mr Nica floats the concept that additional criteria should be introduced, such as mobility between more developed EU member states to less developed member states.

Not surprisingly, the suggestion has met considerable opposition from parts of the academic sector. LERU for example has spoken against this alternative. LERU members are Universities and research organizations in highly successful EU member states. They are concerned that these new rules would make the ERC less interesting for researchers.

Other arguments include suggestions that less successful countries should increase their research budget at the national level to attract successful ERC project. Also, critics point out that the ERC evaluation is well established, and it would be a mistake to change the process.

But there are other stakeholders that are more positive to the suggestion. These point out that the new criteria would reduce the concentration of ERC funding to relatively few European research performers and likely to increase European research collaboration.

The debate and discussion will no doubt continue.


Ingemar Pongratz established Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We help client to apply from European sources such as Horizon 2020. If you would like to discuss our services please use the contact form (opens in a new window) or send an email to:

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