European Research Council (ERC)
The ERC complements other funding activities in Europe such as those of the national research funding agencies, and is a flagship component of the ‘Ideas Programme’ of the European Union’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7).
Being ‘investigator-driven’ or ‘bottom-up’ in nature, the ERC approach allows researchers to identify new opportunities and directions in any field of research, rather than being led by priorities set by politicians. This approach ensures that funds are channeled into new and promising areas of research with a greater degree of flexibility.
ERC grants are awarded through open competition to projects headed by starting and established researchers, irrespective of their origins, who are working or moving to work in Europe – the sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence. The aim here is to recognise the best ideas, and to retain and confer status and visibility to the best brains in Europe while also attracting talent from abroad.