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Academic Careers

New ERC Starting Grants

The European Research Council (ERC) today announced the results of the fifth funding round of its Starting Grants. According to an ERC press release, this year 536 early-career
researchers have been selected to share almost €800 million to establish their independent labs in Europe.
Starting in 2007, the ERC has been offering grants of up to €2 million each for up to 5
years to researchers with between 2 and 12 years of postdoctoral experience. Researchers may be of any nationality, but they must be based or willing to move to Europe.
This year, the ERC received a total of 4741 applications, representing a 16% uptick compared to last year (the numbers of applications tend to vary substantially from year to year, with 42% more in 2011 than in 2010, and 14% more in 2010 than in 2009, for example). But with the ERC’s budget for the Starting Grants also rising by more than 19% this year, even with the rise in applicants, the success rate only dropped from 12% in 2011 to 11.3% in 2012.

As in previous years, this year’s grantees altogether represent around 40 different
nationalities, with German, British, French, and Italian scientists among the best represented. Altogether the grantees will join (or stay in) around 220 institutions across 21 European countries, with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Netherlands being among the
most attractive countries for ERC grantees.
The typical profile of an ERC grantee remains similar to previous years: The average age
is around 37, and about 24% of the grantees are women. Physical science and engineering are the best represented fields, with 44% of the grantees in these disciplines. Rounding out the grantees, 37% are in the life sciences and 19% are in the social sciences and humanities.
You can access all the names of the grantees by country or by scientific domain from the ERC Web site. Some additional funds are also expected to be confirmed soon, which would allow the funding of some more researchers who currently sit on a reserve list, the ERC stated in the press release.
The ERC calls for Starting Grant proposals every summer, with deadlines coming up in autumn. Up to now, only two types of grants have been available–Starting Grants and Advanced Grants–but, starting with the next call, already independent scientists with between 7 and 12 years of postdoctoral experience will be eligible for the new €2.75 million ERC Consolidator Grants.
You can find the stats of all the previous funding rounds on the ERC Web site.