Almost €10 million in funding to narrow the gap between frontier research and its commercial and societal applications

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced 66 new recipients of its Proof of Concept Grant scheme. Worth €150 000 each, their grants will be used to explore the commercial or societal potential of the results of their research projects. This funding is part of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.

From developing a new way to detect space debris, to the introduction of artificial soil to screen plants nutritional needs from below the ground, to the development of a cheap and reliable method to detect ovarian cancer, the Proof of Concept scheme supports researchers working in a wide range of disciplines. Researchers use this type of funding to verify the practical viability of scientific concepts, explore business opportunities or prepare patent applications.

The Proof of Concept (PoC) grant scheme is open only to researchers who are or have been previously funded by the ERC. They use the funding to explore the innovation potential of the findings they have made in the course of their Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy grant projects. Today’s announcement concerns the first of three deadlines in the 2023 call, with a total annual budget of €30 million.

A diverse selection of scientists and projects

The winning projects have been selected out of 122 evaluated proposals. The new grants will be awarded to researchers working in 16 countries: UK (12), Germany (9), Spain (8), France (6), Italy (6), Belgium (4), Israel (4), Netherlands (4), Denmark (3), Norway (2), Sweden (2), and Austria (2). In addition, one grant has been given to researchers based in Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, and Finland.

List of the 66 recipients by country of the host institution

Researchers funded under the Proof of Concept scheme will delve into a diverse range of topics. Nearly 55% of funded projects are in the domain of Physical Sciences and Engineering, almost 36% in Life Sciences, and 9% in Social Sciences and Humanities.
How to apply for the next funding round?

ERC grantees can still apply for PoC funding in the third round of the 2023 call. The next deadline is 21 September 2023.

More information about applying for PoC Grants.

Association to Horizon Europe

The statistics and final list of successful candidates are provisional. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom allows for associating the UK to the current EU research and innovation funding programme, Horizon Europe, subject to the adoption of a Protocol. As this Protocol has not been adopted so far, the UK is still considered “non-associated” to Horizon Europe. Therefore, the successful proposals of applicants based in a country in the process of associating to Horizon Europe will be eligible for funding only if the relevant Horizon Europe association agreement applies by the time of the signature of the grant agreement. However, successful applicants from UK host institutions can still be funded, provided they move to a host institution in an eligible country.

About the ERC

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four main grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

Source: European Research Council I News (