The ERC Scientific Council decided to take the preliminary steps to reinstate the Synergy Grant funding scheme in 2018. This comes after a thorough assessment of the ongoing projects funded through the pilot calls in 2012 and 2013. Synergy Grants can bring together top researchers with complementary skills and knowledge and enable them to jointly address a commonly chosen challenging research problem in unconventional ways, potentially leading to major breakthroughs that scientists would not be able to achieve working alone. ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon welcomes the reintroduction: “The Synergy Grants awarded so far have shown that this funding fosters interdisciplinary research and can trigger unconventional collaborations, allowing for the emergence of new fields of study. These grants help to put European science at the global forefront. They will contribute significantly to fill a gap in the EU funding for frontier research.” In 2012 and 2013, the ERC opened two competitions for Synergy Grants on a pilot basis. An assessment of the 24 projects funded in these calls, including visits to the research teams by Scientific Council members, came to the conclusion that such grants would be a valuable addition to the main ERC funding schemes – part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – which are targeted at individual researchers. The ERC Scientific Council agreed to re-introduce the scheme in the beginning of October at its plenary session in Dublin, Ireland. The decision was officially confirmed today. The future Synergy Grant call for proposals, including its budget, dates and eligibility criteria, should be published in the 2018 ERC Work Programme to be adopted by the European Commission in 2017.
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