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Academic Careers

Call for ERC Starting Grants Now Open

The European Research Council (ERC) today launched its fifth call for the ERC Starting Grants, which are designed to support outstanding early-career scientists as they set up or consolidate their independent research teams in Europe.

Awarded annually, the ERC Starting Grants scheme gives early-career scientists up to €2
million for up to 5 years to enable “them to get early scientific and professional independence,” the ERC press release says. To be eligible scientists must have between 2 and 12 years of postdoctoral experience. All nationalities are eligible, but candidates must be hosted by a university or research center in one of the 27 EU Members states, or one of the 13 associated countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein, FYR of Macedonia, Norway, Republic of Montenegro, Serbia, Switzerland, or Turkey).

There is information
on how to apply on the ERC Web site. Note, however, that deadlines vary
among disciplines: physical sciences and engineering, 12 October 2011;
life sciences, 9 November 2011; and social sciences and humanities, 24
November 2011.
ERC Starting Grants were very
popular, generating more than 9,000 applications for the 300 or so
grants announced in the first call back in 2007 — a success rate of
abotu 3%. But success rates have been rising, reaching about 15% last
year. The budget for the ERC Starting Grants has been increasing year
after year, reaching €730 million in the latest call. As many as 600
early-career researchers are expected to be funded this year, joining
1,300 scientists who have already been funded under this scheme.
Science Careers has provided advice on how to win an ERC Starting Grant or get funding in tight times, and also profiled several ERC grantees (including Katerina Aifantis, Eduardo Moreno).