55 scientists funded to explore their research’s commercial potential

A new low-cost test for COVID19, how to share cultural expertise to solve conflicts, a way to help develop new medicines to treat blindness, further improvements to a clean energy producing technology – just some examples of how frontier researchers will use extra ERC funding to improve our lives. 55 researchers will receive

ERC Proof of Concept grants to explore the commercial or societal potential of their work and to bring their work closer to the market.

ERC Proof of Concept (PoC) grants, worth €150,000 each, can be used for example to explore business opportunities, prepare patent applications or verify the practical viability of scientific concepts. This final injection of €8.25 million pushes the total number of ERC Proof of Concept funded projects for 2020 to 166.

On this occasion, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The Proof of Concept grants, awarded by the European Research Council today, demonstrate how frontier research results can be applied to create innovations that benefit society and industry. The research funded in this call is set to break fresh ground and to open new ways of dealing with pressing challenges in the areas of health, migration and climate change, amongst many other fields.”

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon commented: “Congratulations to all the winners! The ERC is happy to support researchers working in many different areas who move their scientific findings closer to the market and to societal needs. Frontier research is the basis that generates innovation in many forms, not only technological, which in turn can impact society positively.”

This set of results is from the third and final round of PoC calls for 2020.

The 166 Proof of Concept grants awarded in 2020 went to researchers working in 21 countries: Austria 3, Belgium 8, Switzerland 8, Cyprus 1, Germany 23, Greece 1, Spain 12, Finland 1, France 15, Ireland 1, Israel 11, Italy 17, Luxembourg 2, Netherlands 17, Norway 1, Poland 1, Portugal 2, Sweden 8, Slovenia 1, Turkey 3, UK 30.

  • Previous Proof of Concept grants in 2020 – results: round one, round two

The budget for the whole 2020 PoC competition was €25 million, and in total, 510 proposals were evaluated, with an average success rate of 32%.


About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. It offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between grantees’ pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation.

To date, the ERC has funded over 9,800 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. Key global research funding bodies, in the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries, have concluded special agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees’ teams.

The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. The ERC President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 was more than €13 billion, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, is responsible.

More information

ERC website

Horizon 2020

ERC press contacts

Eilish Brault

Press and Communication Adviser

Phone: +32 (0)2 295 24 71

[email protected]

Kerstin Dörflinger

Press and Communication Officer

Phone: +32 (0)2 296 50 59

[email protected]

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