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European Research Council‎ (ERC)

The EU has been funding basic and frontier research in Europe through the European Research Council (ERC) since 2007. Special features of ERC funding include, in particular, scientific autonomy in the design of the funding lines, the thematic openness of the calls and the funding of individual researchers. In Horizon Europe, the ERC is again located within the first pillar named "Excellent Science" and has a budget of EUR 16 billion for the 7-year duration of the 9th Research Framework Program (this corresponds to 17% of the total budget of Horizon Europe).

Researchers of any nationality and from all scientific disciplines are eligible to apply to the ERC, which provides a total of 5 funding lines with different target groups:

  • ERC Starting Grants for researchers in a time window of 2 - 7 years after the PhD

  • ERC Consolidator Grants for researchers in a time window of 7 - 12 years after the PhD

  • ERC Advanced Grants for active researchers with a track-record of significant research achievments in the last 10 years

  • ERC Synergy Grants for groups of 2 to 4 researchers bringing together complementary skills

  • ERC Proof of Concept for researchers who have already received an ERC grant and now want to explore the commercial or societal potential of it

ERC-funded projects must be undertaken in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries. The sole selection criterion for ERC Grants is the scientific quality of both the project proposals and the applicants.

The ERC consists of an independent Scientific Council and a Secretariat (ERC Executive Agency of the European Commission). The Scientific Council is responsible in particular for the overall strategy (e.g. definition of funding lines), the establishment of the annual Work Programmes (with the ERC Calls) and the definition of the review and selection criteria (including the selection of ERC panel members). The ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA) supports the Scientific Council and organises the operational programme implementation (calls, review procedures, grant agreements, etc.).

National Contact Point ERC

The German National Contact Point ERC is jointly managed by the EU Office of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) at the DLR Project Management Agency and the European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KoWi). Further information and all contact persons of the NCP ERC can be found on our joint NCP ERC homepage.


KoWi contact persons

Part of the National Contact Point ERC:

  • Dr. Kristina Wien (head of team)

  • Isabel Herzhoff (deputy head of team)

  • Dunja Hofmann

  • Dominik Maas

  • Byron Schirbock

  • Katharina Spannhake

  • Martin Winger

In addition to the current accredited team of the National Contact Point ERC, further KoWi staff provide supplementary advice on the basis of the NCP guidelines on project management in ERC projects:

  • Sebastian Claus

  • Cristina Condovici

  • Yvette Gafinen

  • Sarah Henkel

KoWi Services

KoWi continues to offer individual counselling on applications, as in previous years. For the ERC funding lines, we ask interested researchers with a German host institution to send us the complete proposal for proofreading, ideally three weeks before the respective submission deadlines, so that we can give you feedback in time. After this date, we may no longer be able to guarantee detailed feedback, depending on the number of proposals received.

In addition to application advice, we also offer ERC interview training for applicants with a German host institution and with an invitation to the ERC interview. Please refer to our NCP ERC Newsletter or our NCP ERC homepage for the scheduled dates and registration information.