When considering to apply to the ERC, one must pay attention to the potential penalties involved with rejection of the ERC application. These penalties are essentially ‘blocking periods’ in which a PI cannot reapply to the ERC. These blocking periods typically consist of 1 or 2 consecutive deadlines of the relevant ERC call.
This mechanism applies to all ERC categories (StG, CoG and AdG), as well as to the renewed ERC Synergy Grant (SyG).
How the ERC Blocking Mechanism Works
The decision tree presented below refers to either PIs who currently have an active ERC grant or to PIs that have applied to the ERC in 2016 and/or 2017. Researchers who did not apply in 2016/2017 and do not have an active ERC grant, may apply to the ERC 2018 / 2019 calls with no restrictions (considering all other eligibility criteria).
Now, once you have determined whether you can apply to the 2018 / 2019 ERC calls, let’s examine the possible penalties you need to consider if you decide to apply to the 2019 ERC Synergy call. Keep in mind that the penalties in the case of ERC Synergy will apply to all participating PIs.
As can be seen in this decision tree, score C in step 1 of the evaluation has a relatively severe penalty to all participating PIs. Score B in stage 1 or stage 2 will mean one blocking period for the SyG call only.
Our recommendation is therefore to examine carefully whether one is capable of applying to the ERC Synergy call with a competitive application, taking into account the potential penalties in case the application is rejected.
Note about submitting two ERC applications on the same WP year
Only the first eligible application is evaluated, which means there is no point in working on two applications on the same year.
This is relevant for applicants that wish to be part of a SyG application and submit an individual (StG, CoG or AdG) grant themselves. Though this is not directly related to the blocking mechanism, it is important in this context in order to avoid potential disqualifications of more than one applications that were submitted in the same WP year.
(*) Will it end in 2 years? – with respect to the relevant call deadline.