• Action type: HORIZON-ERC-POC HORIZON ERC Proof of Concept Grants
  • Opening date: 16 November 2023
  • Closing time: 14 March 2024 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
  • Budget per project: € 150 000 of total € 30 000 000
  • Estimated number of projects funded: 200
  • Project duration: 18 months
  • Official website


All Principal Investigators in one of the ERC frontier research main grants(Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy) are eligible to participate and apply for an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. Principal Investigators in an ongoing main grant, or Principal Investigators in a main grant that has ended less than 12 months before 1 January 2023, are eligible to apply.

The Principal Investigator must be able to demonstrate the relation between the idea to be taken to proof of concept and the ERC frontier research project (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced or Synergy) in question.

The ERC Proof of Concept funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.

Frontier research often generates radically new ideas that drive innovation and business inventiveness and tackle societal challenges. The ERC PoC Grants aim at facilitating exploration of the commercial and social innovation potential of ERC funded research and are therefore available only to PIs whose proposals draw substantially on their ERC funded research.

Proof of Concept Grants aim at maximising the value of the excellent research that the ERC funds, by funding further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC frontier research grant) to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects.

The objective is to enable ERC-funded ideas to progress on the path from ground-breaking research towards innovation.

Proof of Concept Grant would help among others:

  • testing, experimenting, demonstrating and validating the idea;
  • conducting research required to carry out the above activities and to address the weaknesses uncovered by them;
  • establishing viability, technical issues and overall direction;
  • clarifying IPR protection or knowledge transfer strategy;
  • involving industrial partners, societal or cultural organisations, policymakers or any other potential stakeholder supporting the translation of research results into innovation;
  • assessing potential “end users” of the expected innovation.

The Host Institution must engage the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the Proof of Concept project.

The Host Institution must either be established in an EU Member State or Associated Country (AC) as a legal entity created under national law, or it may be an International European Interest Organisation (such as CERN, EMBL, etc.), the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) or any other entity created under EU law.

International organisations with headquarters in an EU Member State or AC will be deemed to be established in this Member State or AC. Any type of legal entity, public or private, including universities, research organisations and undertakings can host PIs and their teams. The ERC welcomes applications from PIs hosted by private for-profit research centres, including industrial laboratories.

The PI can submit the PoC proposal with a different HI than the one where the ERC main frontier research grant is currently (or was) implemented, provided that this other HI complies with the eligibility criteria described in the Work programme.


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