The SFI ERC Development Programme supports researchers based in Ireland that have submitted a proposal to the ERC Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant and Advanced Grant schemes, have been deemed fundable, but were not eventually funded by the ERC due to a lack of available programme budget. Importantly, the programme aims to support or improve a resubmission to an ERC funding scheme.
This programme is designed to:
- Encourage excellent but recently unsuccessful ERC applicants to resubmit to the ERC
- Increase Ireland’s success in future ERC calls
- Improve the success rate of Ireland-based applicants who resubmit to the ERC
- To encourage researchers based in Ireland to submit proposals to ERC schemes
- To assist SFI’s eligible research bodies to recruit excellent but initially unsuccessful ERC applicants, and encourage them to reapply to the ERC for their own benefit and for the benefit of their new host institution
- The applicant must have been an unsuccessful applicant to the most recent ERC Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant, or Advanced Grant call. Only one SFI ERC Development Programme application corresponding to an original ERC proposal will be eligible for review. Previous applicants to the SFI ERC Development Programme (or any of its forerunners) are not eligible to reapply.
- At Stage 2 of the ERC review process, proposals are scored “A” if they fully meet the ERC's excellence criterion and are recommended for funding if sufficient funds are available. Only applicants whose proposals scored “A” at Stage 2 are eligible to apply to the SFI ERC Development Programme.
- The applicant must have submitted a proposal to one of the ERC panels that are listed as being part of the Physical Sciences and Engineering (PE) domain or the Life Sciences (LS) domain. Applications associated with researchers who applied to a panel within the Social Sciences and Humanities (SH) domain are not eligible through this call, even where a secondary panel was selected in either the PE or LS domains.
- The applicant must be:
- a member of the academic staff of an eligible Research Body (permanent or with a contract that covers the period of the grant), or
- a contract researcher with a contract that covers the period of the grant, who is recognised by the Research Body as an independent investigator, and will have an independent office and research space at the host Research Body for which he/she will be fully responsible for at least the duration of the SFI grant, or
- an individual who will be recognised by the Research Body upon receipt of the SFI grant as a member of the academic staff or as a contract researcher as defined above. The applicant does not necessarily need to be employed by the Research Body at the time of proposal submission.
Utilising the award
The SFI ERC Development Programme aims to provide enhanced support for investigators whose ERC proposals were deemed to have the requisite excellence to obtain an award from one of the three ERC grant programmes for individual researchers, but were unfortunately not funded due to a lack of available finance. SFI views that these awards should be utilised in one of two distinct ways:
- Support: In cases where the Evaluation Report from the ERC does not indicate that significant changes to the original proposal are required, thus providing a strong rationale for a rapid resubmission to the next available call to the relevant ERC scheme, the funds may be used to carry out preliminary or time-sensitive work, which would underpin the research programme of a future ERC award. Should an application to the ERC be successful, the SFI award would terminate upon the commencement of the ERC grant, based on the grant agreement that is subsequently negotiated.
- Improvement: In cases where the Evaluation Report has clearly identified that changes or additional preliminary data are required before a resubmission to a future ERC scheme would have a strong likelihood of success, the funds may be used to carry out the necessary research to directly address these issues. SFI expects that a resubmission to the ERC will be made no later than to the next available call to the relevant open ERC scheme after the approved end date of the SFI ERC Development Programme award.
SFI ERC Development Programme grants will be up to 50% of the original ERC proposal, or €500,000, whichever is lower, for a period of 24 months.
Proposals must be received by SFI within three months of the date on the applicant’s ERC notification letter, if they applied to the ERC with a Host Institution in the Republic of Ireland or within 12 months of this date if they applied to the ERC from elsewhere.
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