An ERC council member and recent grantee offer advice on approaching the flagship funder
- Give your idea plenty of time to develop: don’t apply too early and don’t despair if you don’t win funding the first time round.
- Make the case that your research question requires the level of funding on offer at the ERC and will otherwise go unanswered.
- Make sure both the language and the motivation for your research are easily understood by people outside your specialism.
- Don’t worry if your idea falls between subject panels—the ERC will make sure proposals get a cross-panel evaluation.
From its inception, the European Research Council has stuck to a bottom-up approach to funding. Its insistence on setting no research priorities even saw the ERC’s Scientific Council defenestrate Mauro Ferrari, its last president, for proposing a funding programme specific to Covid-19.