There are many questions about the ERC evaluation process, which do not have an official answer or reference. Below is a list of such questions and the best answers that can be provided, based on our extensive experience in ERC.
Q: How many reviewers are going to review my application?
A: In most cases, ERC applications that get score “A” in step 2 are reviewed by 9-10 reviewers. Applications that were rejected with score “B” in the step 2 of the evaluation were reviewed by about 6-7 reviewers. Applications that were rejected with score “B” or “C” in step 1 of the evaluation process were reviewed by 3-4 reviewers.
Q: How are the reviewers being selected to review my application?
A: To begin with, the reviewers are being selected according to their CV. The panel members will look in the EC database or elsewhere to make sure they find the best reviewers to review your application. On top of that, the panel members will use the abstract of the ERC application, and the free keywords provided with the application to mutually evaluate with the selected reviewers whether they can evaluate your application. Based on this set of parameters the reviewers will be selected.
Q: How good are these reviewers? How close are they to my field of research?
A: They should be. The selection process aims to ensure that the best available reviewers will review your application. Many times this is indeed the case, but sometimes it is not. It happens that the selected reviewers are not the best one to carry out the work. Their CV, knowledge and expertise might be in the vicinity of your field, but not fully overlapping with yours. These reviewers may not have all the tools to fully evaluate your application. When preparing your application keep these reviewers in mind and make sure to convey the messages in the best possible way.
Q: Shall I exclude reviewers?
A: It depends. It is fine to exclude a reviewer if you have a very good reason to do so (note that you don’t have to specify the reason for exclusion). However, keep in mind that such an excluded reviewer might be a panel member on the review panel that is supposed to evaluate your application. Officially, in case you decide to exclude a reviewer, this reviewer will not review your application. However, if this excluded reviewer is also a panel member, there is a chance that it will badly influence the other panel members, when referring to your application. Therefore, we strongly recommend excluding reviewers only in case you have a very good reason to do so. Note that you can exclude up to 3 reviewers only.
Q: Can I convey new information to the reviewers after submitting the application?
A: Officially and technically the answer is No. After the deadline for submission, the system blocks any option to send any new information or updates. However, there is an indirect way to do that – by updating your personal webpage/website. Many reviewers may google you and examine your webpage/website in order to learn more about you. Therefore, we recommend to update your personal website/webpage, as soon as possible, with any new findings or publications that might be relevant to the evaluation process.
Understanding the answers to these ERC evaluation questions is an important step in preparing your very own proposal. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us and we will have them answered as soon as we can.