When preparing to apply for the ERC grant, or as part of the ERC interview preparation, it is highly recommended to learn as much as possible about the potential review panel members that may serve on the review panel and will evaluate your proposal. For those applicants preparing for the interview in Brussels, it is wise to learn who might be the people that you are going to present to.
Why is it important to prepare for the potential review panel members in ERC? How can it help?
Review panel members are the ones that are responsible for the evaluation process of the application. They conduct the review in the 1st evaluation phase, and then identify and recruit the ‘external reviewers’ that will review the application in the 2nd evaluation phase. On top of this, when the applicant is invited to individual interview in Brussels, the panel members are the ones that will conduct the interview. They will ask their own questions, and convey the questions coming from the external reviewers.
Knowing the potential review panel members can help both during the 1st evaluation phase, as well as when it comes to the interview.
During the 1st stage, the panel members act as generalists and look at the project in the more broad sense of it. Though they may be experts in the field of research, they still view it from a general point of view, and only then it will pass to the 2nd stage of review. In this context, if you know the background of the potential panel members, you may better target your text in light of these specific individuals.
During the interview, knowing the background of the people in the room will make you better prepared to answer questions, or highlight specific issues (for example – refer to work done by any of these individuals, that may be relevant to the presentation of the project in the interview). Once you have understood who your potential review panel members may be – learn about their background and track record in the context of your proposal. Note – only a few of the panel members may be actually involved in the 1st stage evaluation and the interview of each application, and they will be selected based on their scientific background.
How can we assess who the potential review panel members may be?
The members of the ERC review panels alternate to allow panel members to apply to the ERC calls in alternate years (Source: ERC Work Program). Though the information about the review panel members is always confidential for the current year, once the evaluation process is completed, the ERC publishes the lists of review panel members for the recent year. The key for assessing who may be the ERC review panel members when you apply is by looking into past records of panel members throughout the years, starting two years back (compared to the call that you apply to).
Example: if you apply to consolidator grant 2018 (CoG 2018) you should look at the review panel members of CoG 2016 and 2014.
We have developed a tool which is based on this publicly available information. You can use it to anticipate who might be the ERC review panel members in your case. Just select the “Category” (StG/CoG/AdG) and indicate which review panel is of interest to you. The table will show you the full list of past ERC review panel members since 2008. You can also search for a specific name on the list.
There are several things that this table can help you with:
- Anticipate who could serve as a review panel member and possibly evaluate your application (like we said in many cases the review panel members serve on an alternating basis, once every two years)
- Learn about past members of the various review panels, as these might be people that you can consult with for your current application
- For Consolidator Grant (CoG) applicants – Note that the CoG dedicated review panels has started only in 2013. If you want to learn about relevant review panel members that served before 2013, search the review panel members under the StG category for these years (2012 and earlier)
- Compare the composition of backgrounds and expertise of review panel members of several review panels that could potentially fit your research in order to choose the most suitable for your topic
- In case you are an interdisciplinary researcher, familiarisation with the various review panels could assist you in deciding which panel will serve you better as a primary panel, and as a secondary one.
- For applicants preparing for the ERC personal interview, learning about the composition and scientific backgrounds of the panel members that will be listening to your presentation and asking questions during the interview could be critical.
Under no circumstances do not discuss your application with any acting review panel member. This may lead to disqualification of your application!
DISCLAIMER: This peer review panel members database tool acts as an analytical tool only. Enspire Science Ltd. is not responsible for any changes or mistakes in the composition of the panel members. The recommendations given serve as advice, based on past experience only.