The European Research Council (ERC) has announced its first calls for 2021, kickstarting the EU’s next framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe. This follows the adoption of the European Research Council Work Programme for 2021 by the European Commission.

€1.9 billion will be available through the ERC this year, giving 1000 top researchers the means to pursue frontier research. As in previous years, most of the funding will be allocated to early- and mid-career stage scientists and scholars. In addition, the funding will support jobs for around 6860 postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and staff employed in ERC-funded teams.

First Calls
  • Starting Grants – With €619 million available, the first call will open on 25th February. In order to allow researchers as much time as possible to apply, the call has an extended deadline of 8th April.
  • Consolidator Grant – The ERC Consolidator Grant call will open on 11th March and close on 20th April. It has a total of €633 million available.
  • Advanced Grant – Researchers can apply for an Advanced Grant between 20th May and 31st August. The call will provide €626 million of grant funding.
  • Synergy Grant – Synergy grants will not be available under the 2021 work programme. However, the ERC expects to open the first Synergy Grant call of Horizon Europe this summer.
  • Proof of Concept Grant – Proof of Concept Grants are not available under this work programme. A call is likely to open in the second half of this year.

Although formal agreements are not yet in place, applicants based in associated countries such as the UK, Switzerland and Israel will be able to apply on a conditional basis i.e., on the condition that their country soon reaches an association agreement with the EU.

RedKnight’s Co-Director, Dayne Hodgson, said,

“Adopting the ERC Work Programme is a significant and exciting milestone in the initial implementation of Horizon Europe. This important step will be the first from the latest framework programme to support promising early and late stage researchers in their pursuit of frontier research.

The UK has long been a leading player in the ERC programme; for example, UK-based researchers secured the largest number of grants in the ERC’s first post-Brexit €8.25 million funding round for proof-of-concept projects! We hope that the necessary agreements are in place in time for UK universities to participate fully in upcoming calls.”

If you’d like to discuss a potential application with one of our advisers, please get in touch today. Alternatively, sign up for our free monthly newsletter to receive the latest opportunities direct to your inbox.