At Koç University, the Sponsored Research Office (SRO) provides research support services on ERC proposal development. Contact personsEmrah GökerOya GülEsra Hüseyinoğlu


ERC (European Research Council) is a mono-beneficiary research funding scheme (and also the title of the of the organization that manages the programme), which supports groundbreaking, high-risk/high-gain research from all disciplines, sdministered as part of the European Commission’s Framework Programmes.

ERC grants continue to be awarded under the Horizon Europe system between the 2021-2027 period. You can find brief information at this page about the Sponsored Research Office services aimed to promote Koç University’s success in this program (hosting 21 out of 38 projects carried out/completed in Türkiye).

To promote the university’s success further, Koç University incentivizes ERC grantees with

  • teaching load reduction (from 4 to 2 courses per year, for the duration of the project)
  • monthly salary bonus (for the duration of the project).

You can always contact SRO and request an appointment for a one-to-one meeting to evaluate the competitiveness of your research agenda (and your CV) in the ERC programme. We can get together to inform you about the scheme in general and discuss a proposal development calendar specifically for you.

Finally, please review TUBITAK’s “ERC Principal Investigator Development Program“, which offers financial support schemes for external professional services in proposal development. TUBITAK’s National Contact Points for ERC further would provide guidance on proposal development and program rules: Aslı Vural and Derya Dönertaş.


ERC Navigation Step 1: “Which Scheme Should I Choose?”

In the ERC programme, there are three main types of frontier research support schemes for researchers who are either just starting their research career, at intermediate or at advanced career stages. Depending on the date that you have earned your PhD degree, you can evaluate your preparation strategy based on which funding type you are eligible for.

A summary table for the ERC 2022 calls can be found in the 2022 Work Programme (The 2023 Work Programme has not been published yet, but a draft schedule for the 2023 calls is here):

 

  1. ERC Starting Grant: You are at the beginning of your research career as a faculty member, you are setting up your independent research group / agenda.You have strong qualifications in “research leadership”. If 2-7 years have passed since your PhD defense date, you can apply to the Starting Grant. For 2023 calls, the table above will change as follows: If your degree was awarded between 1.1.2016-31.12.2020, you are eligible for the Starting Grant 2023. At this level, the research group of the PI can be funded for a maximum of 5 years and a maximum of 1.5 million Euros. Additional funds for 1 million Euros may be requested. The closest call, the 2023 round, will be opened on 12.7.2022 and closed on 25.10.2022.
  2. ERC Consolidator Grant: You have progressed in your career, you have settled your independent research group / agenda. You have a stronger profile of “research leadership” at this stage. If 7-12 years have passed since your PhD defense date, you can apply to the Consolidator Grant. For 2023 calls: You are eligible for the Consolidator Grant 2023 if your degree was awarded between 1.1.2011 and 31.12.2015. At this level, you can apply with a 5-year research idea to be funded with a maximum of 2 million Euros. Additional funds of 1 million Euros may be requested. The closest call, the 2023 round, will be opened on 28.9.2022 and closed on 2.2.2023.
  3. ERC Advanced Grant: You have reached a considerably high point in your research career, you are a world-renowned/ influential researcher in your discipline. You stand out as a “research leader” in your field. You can apply to this fund at any stage after your PhD degree, there is no “range” criterion in this respect. At this level, you can apply with a 5-year research idea to be funded with a maximum of 2.5 million Euros. Additional funds of 1 million Euros may be requested for cases such as expensive equipment etc. The closest call, the 2023 round, will be opened on 8.12.22022 and closed on 23.5.2023.

It is possible to extend the eligibility window for the Starting and Consolidator Grants due to maternity, paternity and career interruptions for medical reasons. You can contact SRO regarding the details if such conditions apply to your case.

A fourth frontier type of research funding in the ERC programme is the ERC Synergy Grant. In this scheme, 2 to 4 coordinators (from separate institutions or from the same institution) are invited to come together and demonstrate the synergy between their expertise and an interdisciplinary groundbreaking research idea. Synergy Grant projects can be funded for up to 6 years with a maximum budget of 10 million Euros; and an additional budget for up to 4 million Euros can be requested. Coordinators may be at any postdoctoral career stage, they are expected to have profiles eligible for an individual ERC application. The closest call, round 2023, will be opened on 13.7.2022 and closed on 8.11.2022.

A fifth type of support is open to researchers who have received one of the above frontier ERC grants: ERC Proof of Concept Grant is a scheme to fund the “proof of concept/technology” that has developed as an outcome of an ERC project. An additional fixed budget of 150.000 Euros is available for the commercialization of a technology or service during (or immediately after) the implementation of an ERC project.

There are two dimensions to consider for each grant type, from the perspective of eligibility:

  • Do you have a groundbreaking, high-risk/high-gain research idea?
  • Are your qualifications in “research leadership” at or above the required level of the grant?

SRO can help you assess these two dimensions when you contact us.

ERC Navigation Step 2: “How Should I Prepare for the Application?”

  • The ERC main page is your gateway for each grant type’s official documents, most importantly the “Guidelines for Applicants” (here for STG and COG 22, here for ADG 22) and ERC’s “Work Programme” of that year. Make sure you are familiar with all the details of the programme using these two documents, including what type of research ideas will be evaluated, how to apply, and the minimum qualifications required from a PI.
  • The ERC guide for external evaluators also guides you on how will your application be scored, please read (for STG and COG 22, for ADG).
  • Contact SRO and you can get help about developing a calendar for your proposal preparation. You will also need to get together with the TTO team to work on your budget at least 2 weeks before the date you plan to submit your application.
  • Check out TUBITAK’s “ERC Principal Investigator Program“. You may consider an application here to pay for services such as having your application forms evaluated by an outside expert. SRO can also provide guidance on TUBITAK supports. There are external evaluators we have an experience of working together, and SRO can make suggestions.
  • You can access guide documents, webinar recordings, and similar support contents in our document repository for Koç University researchers from here.
  • You can seek support from researchers at Koç University who have received ERC grants and/or have experience as panelists/external evaluators. We believe that the most useful feedback for ERC candidates at Koç University come from other researchers.

ERC Navigation Step 3: “How Do I Complete the Application?”

  • You can initiate the electronic submission process from the official European Commission call page of the grant type you are applying for. (The ERC main page also provides these links.)
  • You can download B1 templates (the short form, containing 5 pages of research idea + CV template) and B2 templates (the long form, containing 15 pages of research details) which make up the “Part B” of the application when you start your electronic application. It may be easier to write your draft texts on these templates.
  • SRO works with you on the details of the “Part A” which is completed online during the submission session. You can add SRO and TTO staff to the application and we can doublecheck your proposal details.
  • You will need an officially signed Host Institution Letter as a support document. SRO prepares the letter for you and uploads it to the system.