Countries with leading-edge research are best positioned to deliver a better quality of life to their citizens, while maintaining their economic position and advancing their global competitiveness.
During FP7 the Ideas programme will fund EU frontier research. The concept behind Ideas is that first-rate researchers are best placed to identify new opportunities and directions at the frontiers of knowledge. These in turn will feed back into society and find their way to the industries and markets, and translate into the broader social innovations of the future.
The ERC will have a unique position as a pan-European funding organisation designed to support the best science and scholarship across all fields of research through open and direct competition. It is expected to reinforce Europe's dynamic character, making it more attractive to leading scientists from both Europe and third countries, as well as for industrial investment.
Two types of the ERC grant will be available, both operating on a "bottom-up" basis without predetermined priorities, across all fields of research:
- The ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants (ERC Starting Grants) - The objective is to provide support to the independent careers of outstanding researchers. They are either located in or moving to the EU and associated countries, and are at the stage of establishing their first research team or programme, whatever their nationality.
- The ERC Advanced Investigator Grants (ERC Advanced Grants) - The objective is to support excellent frontier research projects by leading established researchers across the EU member states and associated countries, whatever their nationality.
Projects will be funded on the basis of proposals presented by researchers both from the private and public sectors on subjects of their choice and evaluated on the sole criterion of excellence as judged by peer review.
Frontier research is a key driver of wealth and social progress because it offers new opportunities for scientific and technological advancement, and is instrumental in producing new knowledge leading to future applications and markets.
The "Ideas" programme, implemented through the European Research Council (ERC), will boost Europe's competitiveness by helping to attract and retain the most talented scientists, supporting risk-taking and high-impact research, and promoting world-class scientific research in new, fast emerging fields.