On Thursday, the European Research Council issued its second call for starting grants. As we've mentioned before, these are hefty (up to 2 million Euros for up to 5 years) grants for young scientists of any nationality with 3-8 years of post-Ph.D. experience who are working, or who will move to work, in Europe. This call will have the same budget as the first round -- about 290 million Euros -- so competition will likely remain stiff; only about 3% of 9167 applicants got funded last time.
Given the flood of applications the ERC received for the first call, the organization has decided to set deadlines by subject area for the second call: October 29 for the physical sciences and engineering, November 19 for social sciences and humanities, and December 10 for the life sciences. The newly updated ERC Grant Schemes Guide for Applicants notes that there are other changes to the application process as well; be sure to read the guide closely.
At the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) last weekend, I heard a couple of grantees from the first round of starting grants talk about their experience. "The application is part of the scientific process," said Jan Eeckhout, an economist who's moving from the University of Pennsylvania to Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona for his starting grant. "One-sixth of my proposal was trashed immediately." The feedback you get on your proposal can guide your research, he added.
For some advice on what makes for a good starting grant proposal, check out Elisabeth Pain's article, Getting to the Top of a Big Pile.
Also, deadlines for Marie Curie actions are rapidly approaching. The deadline is August 19 for Intra-European Fellowships for Career Development (call for applicants), International Incoming Fellowships (call for applicants), and the International Outgoing Fellowships for Career Development (call for applicants).