ERC Starting Grants

Objectives and principles

• Scientific excellence is the sole criterion on the basis of which ERC frontier research grants are awarded
• Applications can be made in any field of research
• ERC Starting Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme. Applicant Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.
• Principal Investigators from anywhere in the world can apply for an ERC grant
• Host institutions must provide appropriate conditions for the Principal Investigator to independently direct the research and manage its funding
• Under Horizon 2020, beneficiaries of ERC grants must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results.


The Principal Investigator shall have been awarded his/her first PhD ≥ 2 and ≤ 7 years prior to 1st of January 2018. A competitive Starting Grant Principal Investigator must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of maturity, for example by having produced at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor. Applicant Principal Investigators should also be able to demonstrate a promising track record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications (as main author) in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals, or in the leading international peer-reviewed journals of their respective field. They may also demonstrate a record of invited presentations in well-established international conferences, granted patents, awards, prizes etc.

Size of the grant

Starting Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 000 for a period of 5 years. However, up to an additional EUR 500 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover (a) eligible "start-up" costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant and/or (b) the purchase of major equipment and/or (c) access to large facilities.