In this post, we share with you 6 rumors that you might have heard about ERC grant applications. Make sure they don’t stop you from applying!
You can only apply for an ERC grant if you are a highly accomplished scientist. This is not strictly true and it depends on what grant you will apply for. Your accomplishments are considered in relation to your stage, your seniority. For StG, creativity and proof of independence are much bigger factors than a Science paper or scientific accomplishments. For AdG, important factors include: a recent track-record and how you’ve supported younger researchers. It is a good idea to describe the trajectory of former team members.
To be successful you need to prove an established research line, you must prove continuity and credibility. In reality, it is the opposite. Your proposal must be a standalone project, not a continuation of something you have done in the past. This is even more important for people who have already won an ERC grant. ERC funding is not continuous funding, each project should be distinct and unique.
Some people say that if you have already obtained an ERC grant you are less or more likely to get another one. This is not true. The panel members are briefed extensively: an ERC grant should not represent either an advantage or a disadvantage. They look at the proposal for its own merit. There are many wonderful researchers who have received prestigious grants that are not an ERC.
Some people think that if a proposal is more socially or medically relevant, the higher the chances of success. This is untrue. The ERC funds excellence within all fields. It is important that your project is not an incremental advancement of knowledge.
You need publications in Nature, Science, or other high impact journals to succeed. This is a false rumor. The answer is no, but for example for StG and CoG, it is important that you show that you were the major contributor to the papers, reflecting maturity and scientific independence. Scientific independence is much more important than a Nature or Science paper.
Some people tend to think that the more funding you ask for, the more you will get. This is incorrect. The budget requested should match what is needed for the work planned, and there is “no punishment” for proposals that ask for a lower amount of funding. Some also think that you should ask for as much as you can because the panel will make cuts. This is also untrue. If you falsely inflate the budget, you won’t be able to justify it properly, which is something the panel will quickly notice.
This information was extracted from various ERC videos, you can watch them here.