Months of work on a highly competitive ERC grant application generally conclude with a few chaotic final days prior to submission. These days before an ERC deadline can be hectic, the electronic submission system is not as intuitive and friendly as one may expect, and small yet unwanted issues within the proposal can be easily overlooked and missed. Since you’ll want to ensure your submitted proposal is as flawless as can be, we’ve put together this post through which you will find a list of typical “last minute” technical mistakes to avoid, based on our experience.
Project title and acronym
A project’s title and its associated acronym tend to change as the PI progresses with the project preparation (e.g. better title/acronym or change of scope that results with different title/acronym). The project title and acronym appear in several places in the application. Once changed, the PI should remember to change them everywhere. The typical mistake is to neglect this and not change the project name and acronym in the following places:
- Header or footer of the documents (both in B1 and in B2)
- The proposal text itself (in case there are references in the text to the title and acronym)
- The electronic submission system
- The host support letter
Host support letter
Your host institution should produce this letter, with official signature and stamp. Once the letter is at hand, upload it to the electronic submission system with your ERC application. There are two typical mistakes which we often see in this respect:
- The project title and acronym are not up to date. In most cases this is the result of changing the project title and/or acronym by the PI without notifying the institution about it.
- The scan of the letter is not in high quality and it is hard to read.
Before submitting the final version of the application it is essential to make sure that the application documents are in the best possible shape. The typical mistakes in that context are the following:
- Problems when converting the documents to PDF format – do not leave this to the last minute. Check this few days before the deadline.
- Low resolution figures – these might not be converted well to PDF.
- Formatting issues and problems – these may have to do with the editor that you are using (Word/Latex/Open Office) or the operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux).
- Tracked changes that were not accepted (or rejected)
- Template instructions leftovers – make sure to delete all of these.
Make sure to allocate enough time to perform final housekeeping of the application documents. Do not leave this to the last minute. This will assist in amending important parts of the application, ensuring it is professional and ready to go.
Good luck with your application!