ERC Kicks off Horizon Europe

The European Research Council has released the ERC 2021 Work Programme in advance of the first call opening on Thursday 25 February 2021.

This work programme, which was adopted by the European Commission on Monday 22 February, 2021 is the first to be approved under the 2021-2027 European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe.

It has been confirmed that applicants established in countries associated to Horizon 2020, and in countries that are negotiating association agreements with the European Union, which includes the United Kingdom, may apply to the calls under this work programme.

Further information on the calls calendar and submission deadlines is available.

The 2021 work programme introduces some novelties, such as interviews now being part of the evaluation process also for Advanced Grant applicants and two new evaluation panels. Due to the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe, the call calendar is shifted compared to the calendars of previous years, and the Synergy and Proof of Concept calls will not open under this year’s work programme.

The Starting Grant call is scheduled to open on Thursday 25 February, 2021. While the initial plan was to close the call on Wednesday 24 March, 2021, it should be noted that the deadline for submission of applications will be extended until Thursday 8 April, 2021. The extension of the deadline is intended to give as much time to Starting Grant applicants as possible while preserving the evaluation calendar and the budgetary allocation.

The Consolidator Grant call will open on Thursday 11 March, 2021 and the Advanced Grant on Thursday 20 May, 2021

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Research, Innovation, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

I am very pleased that we have today adopted the Work Programme of the European Research Council. This important step paves the way for launching calls that support top researchers and their teams to pursue frontier research at different stages of their careers. The first call will support young researchers across Europe who are starting their own independent research team or programme. They are the future of European research.” 

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon commented: 

He added: “A later than expected political agreement on the EU budget has impacted the timing of the first Horizon Europe calls. However, the European Commission’s commitment, and the outstanding dedication of the ERC Executive Agency staff, have enabled us to maintain the original planning for the evaluations, in particular for the 2021 Starting Grant call.

I am also pleased that applicants based in the United Kingdom and in countries associated to Horizon 2020 will still be able to apply on a conditional basis even if the association agreements are not yet in place. The ERC is now very hopeful for a timely conclusion of Horizon Europe association negotiations in order to be able to fund successful applicants.” 

The funding of successful applicants based in countries outside of the European Union will depend on whether an association agreement between their country and the European Union will be in place at the time of the signature of the grant agreements for the call to which they applied.

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