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Horizon Europe - Excellent Science


On this website, our team offers you an overview of the programme part Excellent Science. It primarily promotes investigator-driven or bottom-up frontier research and comprises the following funding instruments:

The ERC (EN) funds researchers and their groundbreaking project ideas. The basic principles of ERC funding are:

  • The sole criterion for selection is the scientific excellence of the project as well as of the Principal Investigator (PI).
  • A host institution is located in one of the EU member states or associated countries and guarantees to fulfil all preconditions necessary for conducting the research project.
  • If the PI decides to change the host institution, the PI takes the ERC grant to the new host institution provided it meets the requirements above.

ERC grants operate on a bottom-up basis without predetermined priorities. Applications can be made in any field of research. The ERC welcomes interdisciplinary project proposals, the exploration of new scientific fields and the application of innovative methodologies.

The ERC offers a video series under the name "ERC Classes (EN)". This series will give you specific information about the ERC application and the evaluation process, including tips to prepare for the interviews. In the future, the ERC will provide videos on a regular basis and also on topics including the individual experiences of ERC grantees.

In addition, the National Contact Point (NCP) ERC provides several offers for support of the applicants. You will find e.g. proposal templates and related documents of current and closed calls, guidelines and background documents as well as information on project management on the website of the NCP ERC (DE). Moreover, the website contains links to the respective members of the ERC Peer Review Panels of closed calls. The reviewer (DE) are usually published by the ERC after the evaluation process was completed.

In total, the ERC offers five different grants:

ERC Starting Grants (ERC StG) fund Principal Investigators (PIs) who already produced excellent supervised work and are ready to work independently showing potential to be a research leader. ERC StG may be awarded up to 1.5 million Euro for a period of five years. However, an additional 1 million Euro can be made available to cover eligible start-up costs. A two-step evaluation procedure is applied.
Further information of the ERC (EN)
Further information of the NCP ERC (DE)

ERC Consolidator Grants (ERC CoG) fund Principal Investigators (PIs) who want to consolidate their independence by establishing a research team. ERC CoG may be awarded up to 2.0 million Euro for a period of five years. However, an additional 1 million Euro can be made available to cover eligible start-up costs. A two-step evaluation procedure is applied.
Further information of the ERC (EN)
Further information of the NCP ERC (DE)

Applicants for the ERC Advanced Grants (ERC AdG) are expected to be active Principal Investigators (PIs) who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years. ERC AdG may be awarded up to 2.5 million Euro for a period of five years. However, an additional 1 million Euro can be made available to cover eligible start-up costs. A two-step evaluation procedure is applied.
Further information of the ERC (EN)
Further information of the NCP ERC (DE)

Applications for an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC SyG) must be submitted by a minimum of two to a maximum of four Principal Investigators (PIs) and must include an outstanding intrinsic synergetic effect. PIs have to present an early achievement track-record or a ten-year track-record, whichever is most appropriate.

ERC SyG seek to bring together complementary expertise, skills and resources in order to conduct research, which cannot be carried out by a single PI working alone. The group of PIs has to explain in the proposal why the research questions can best be tackled in this constellation. PIs can apply within the same or different host institutions established in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries. One of the PI’s host institution can also be located in a third country. This host institution is eligible for funding too. ERC SyG can be up to a maximum of 10 million Euro for a period of six years. However an addition 4 million Euro can be requested in the proposal. A three-step evaluation procedure is applied.
Further information of the ERC (EN)
Further information of the NCP ERC (DE)

ERC Proof of Concept Grants (ERC PoC) award 150 000 Euro for a period of 18 months to those ERC Grantees who want to examine the commercial or societal potential of ideas from ERC projects. The ERC project must either be ongoing or must have ended less than 12 months ago. The activities to be funded shall draw substantially on the scientifically excellent ERC-funded research. However, the additional funding is not aimed at extending the original research. The funding will cover activities at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial or socially valuable proposition, i.e. the initial steps of pre-competitive development. The funding can be used to e.g.:

  • conduct market research,
  • validate technical issues,
  • carry out feasibility studies,
  • clarify intellectual property issues,
  • analyse business opportunities or
  • set up a business plan.

ERC PoC can also support innovative ideas in the public and non-profit domain, for example, contributions to social improvements or environmental objectives. Proposals in this area must clearly address a societal or economic benefit. The calls are published once a year with three cut-off dates. An ERC Grantee may submit only one eligible application per call. A single-step evaluation procedure is applied.
Further information of the ERC (EN)
Further information of the NCP ERC (DE)


Note: If you are considering applying for an ERC grant, please contact the EU Office as soon as possible. The Presidential Board has introduced specific procedures for ERC proposals (DE) to be hosted by the University of Göttingen. These specific procedures have been extended to apply throughout the duration of Horizon Europe (2021-2027). Hence, special modalities and internal deadlines will be applied:

  • internal deadlines ERC Consolidator Grant Call 2023
  • internal deadlines ERC Advanced Grant Call 2023
  • MSCA fund mobility and career development measures for early career scientists. If you are interested in MSCA, please contact Ricarda Blumentritt from the International Office of the University of Göttingen.


    Research infrastructures - both physical and virtual - are often a precondition for conducting research and gaining new scientific knowledge. At the same time, the life cycle of research infrastructures ties up enormous quantities of resources - from establishment to closure. Hence, the EU Commission and the EU member states seek to pool available resources. This can be achieved, for example, by opening up research infrastructures to scientists at other higher education institutions, research organisations, countries and the private sector. The funding instrument RI supports, among other things, the following measures:

    ESFRI was established to pursue a consistent policy for research infrastructures. Since 2006, it has regularly carried out a roadmap process. The ESFRI Roadmap (EN) summarises the most important initiatives on European research infrastructures. There are two different categories in the roadmap:

    • ESFRI Projects: This concerns infrastructures currently being set up. The focus of the integration process into the roadmap is on networking activities, standardisation measures and establishing a common access procedure.
    • ESFRI Landmarks: They are infrastructures that have already been established. The focus here is on expanding transnational and virtual access as well as the question over how the infrastructures can be used in an innovative way.

    The ESFRI roadmap encourages EU member states to develop national roadmaps for their research infrastructures. For example, the BMBF published a roadmap for German infrastructures (DE).

    The EOSC (EN) creates a virtual environment in which scientists in particular can use data across scientific disciplines and national borders. The services of the EOSC are based on the "FAIR-Principles". The data must be "Findable“, "Accessible", "Interoperable" and "Reusable”. The EOSC is complemented by national initiatives, for example, in Germany, there is the "National Research Data Infrastructure" (NFDI (DE)). Moreover, the EOSC can be funded as one of approximately 50 partnerships in the Horizon Europe programme part "Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness".


    In addition to the infrastructures, the RI funding instrument in Horizon Europe also supports the staff who builds, operates and uses them. For example, training activities can be funded.
    Further information of KoWi (EN)
    Further information of BMBF (DE)