ERC Proof of Concept (English)

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The National Contact Point ERC is a cooperation between the EU-Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (EU-Büro des BMBF) and the European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KoWi).

Proof of Concept (PoC)

With regard to the Flagship Initiative “Innovation Union” as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the ERC is interested in the pre-commercialisation of ideas arising from ERC projects.

In view of this, the Proof of Concept Grant was established in 2011. The funding scheme exclusively targets ERC grant holders who want to establish the innovation potential of ideas from their ERC-funded projects.

The objective is to bring research results to a pre-demonstration stage where potential commercialisation opportunities have been identified. Research activities are not funded under this scheme.

The funding can be used for

  • market analysis,
  • technical tests and validation,
  • clarification of the intellectual property rights position and strategy or
  • the outline of a business plan.


Proof of Concept in brief:


Budget and duration of the funding: up to EUR 150,000 for a maximum of 18 months

Topic of the project: open to all fields of research ("bottom-up")

Funding: 100 % of all direct project costs plus 25 % overhead for indirect costs

Host institution: universities/universities of applied sciences, research institutes, companies and international organisations with registered offices in an EU Member State or FP-Associated Country

Application: maximum seven pages proposal containing information on the idea to be taken to proof-of-concept, the innovation strategy, a plan of activities and a justified budget; it is important that the proposal explains the relationship between the PoC project and the other ERC project of the Principal Investigator.

The following aspects have to be considered for an application:

  • The Proof of Concept Grant does only address researchers, who have already been awarded an ERC Grant (StG/CoG/AdG/SyG).
  • The ERC-project shall not have been completed more than one year prior to 1 January of the Work Programme of the respective Call.
  • The host institution must employ the Principal Investigator for at least the duration of the project.

Evaluation: proposals will be evaluated by independent experts in a one-stage peer-review process

Evaluators will use the following criteria:

  • Excellence (innovation potential of the idea)
  • Impact (characater and impact of the project)
  • Quality and efficiency of the implementation (quality of the Proof of Concept-plan)

The evaluation is conducted for each of the criteria according to a so called “pass/fail”-principle. In order to be funded, proposals must reach a “pass mark” from the majority of the evaluators.

Further information can be found on the ERC's website.

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Current Call

On the Participant Portal all open calls are published.  

The current call was published on 2 August 2016.

Deadlines for 2017 are on 19 January 2017, 25 April 2017 and 5 September 2017. A PI can only apply for one deadline in 2017.

Documents for the call can be found here.

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Results of previous Calls


Out of 107 proposals 51 were funded (success rate: 47,6%). German Host Institutions received 8 grants. For the first time, most grants went to Germany.



Out of 405 proposals 133 were funded (success rate: 32.8%). German Host Institutions received 19 grants.



Out of 339 proposals 135 were funded (success rate: 39.8%). German Host Institutions received 15 grants.


PoC-2014 First Deadline:

PoC-2014 Second Deadline:

PoC-2013 First Deadline:

PoC-2013 Second Deadline:

PoC-2012 First Deadline:

PoC-2012 Second Deadline:

PoC-2011 First Deadline:

PoC-2011 Second Deadline:

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