The ERC launched the new funding initiative, called "Proof of Concept", in March 2011, open to researchers who have already been awarded an ERC grant.
ERC grant holders can apply for this additional funding to establish the innovation potential of ideas arising from their ERC-funded frontier research projects.
- All Principal Investigators benefitting from an ERC Advanced or Starting Grant that is either ongoing, or where the project has ended less than 12 months before the publication date of an ERC Proof of Concept call. The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the link between the idea and the related ERC-funded project
- Funding per grant: up to € 150.000
- Duration: 12 months
- Calls for proposals: published once a year with two deadlines ( Notice regarding Call for Proposals 2014)
The type of high-risk/high-gain research at the frontiers of knowledge that the ERC promotes often generates unexpected or new opportunities for commercial and societal applications. The ERC is committed to ensure the full exploitation of the excellent, useful ideas it funds. The Proof of Concept funding helps ERC grant-holders bridge the gap between their research and the earliest stage of a marketable innovation.
The ERC Proof of Concept funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.
The activities to be funded draw substantially on the outputs of ERC-supported research, but they are not aimed at extending the original research.
This funding aims at supporting grant-holders during the pre-demonstration phase to prepare a "package" to be presented to venture capitalists or companies that might invest in the new technology and take it through the early commercialisation phase.
The funding can be used to:
- Establish viability, technical issues and overall direction
- Clarify intellectual property rights position and strategy
- Provide feedback for budgeting and other forms of commercial discussion
- Provide connections to later stage funding
- Cover initial expenses for establishing a company
The contribution under an ERC Proof of Concept call will be in the form of Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs). It may be used for conducting further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the ERC Starting and Advanced Grants) to make evident to the market the innovation potential of an ERC-funded idea, securing thereof potential commercialisation opportunities.
How will proposals be assessed?
The Proof of Concept projects to be funded will have arisen from scientifically excellent ERC-funded research that has already been subject to rigorous peer review.
The grant will be evaluated on the basis of three evaluation criteria
1. Innovation potential: Proposals will have to demonstrate that the proposed Proof of Concept activity could greatly help move the output of research towards the initial steps of pre-commercialisation.
2. Quality of the Proof of Concept plan: The proposed Proof of Concept is based on a sound approach for establishing technical and commercial feasibility of the project.