ERC Starting Grants, writing successful ERC proposals for beginners

Are you a researcher with an excellent scientific profile and with visionary research projects in mind that you want to realize in Europe? Then, maybe the funding scheme of the European Research Council will meet your needs. This workshop is specifically developed for young ambitious researchers without any experience with ERC.

This workshop will supply you with the necessary knowledge to write a successful ERC proposal and will be an invaluable aid in meeting the ERC standards and getting one step closer to obtaining an ERC grant.

The ERC selection criteria applied by the panels use terms which have become familiar jargon, such as important challenge, novel concept, scientific approach and feasibility. Most of these terms are also used by other funding agencies but they are interpreted and applied differently. This workshop will explain in detail how these criteria are used within panels to discuss, assess and select proposals. The evaluation process differs from panel to panel, for example potential feasibility of the scientific approach is assessed differently in social sciences from life sciences and development of a new methodology has a different meaning in social sciences from physics.

Using the ERC ‘Instructions for Applicants’ we will explain how you can address the ERC selection criteria in a panel specific manner and therefore write a competitive proposal. We will examine together the understanding of the evaluation criteria as: groundbreaking nature versus breakthrough potential feasibility of the scientific approach versus the appropriate methodology for the goals. We will discuss how to embed this into a scientific logical structure and how to translate this structure into proposal B1a and B2 part. Furthermore, we will explain how reviewers balance the PI’s ambition versus their track-record, the risk versus the high-gain, the high-gain in relation to ground-breaking outcomes, and finally the potential feasibility of the proposal as a whole, etc.

We will also discuss the panel specifics concerning the quality of the CVs and track-record of ERC grantees. What is the norm per panel and what does this mean for your track-record? What “actions” do you have to highlight or undertake to bring your CV in line with the expectations of the selected panel?

Training objectives

In the light of the panel chosen, to provide researchers with a good understanding of:

  • How to interpret the evaluation criteria;
  • How to design the proposal and to write the proposal;
  • How to demonstrate the ground-breaking nature of one’s CV and track-record;

Who should attend?

The workshop will be of value for applicants who plan to submit an ERC proposal as well as for support staff.

Depending on the scientific backgrounds of the participants we will highlight domain specific issues.


The seminar will be in English, with no translation. The trainer(s) will provide practical information and discuss the requested information, the evaluation criteria, and the best strategy for drafting the proposal with the participants.

The workshop is highly interactive and includes discussions to promote an exchange of views between participants and trainer(s). Each participant receives an extensive guide with the information on the topics listed in the programme.


Yellow Research has extensive experience in running ERC workshops and in pre-submission review of ERC Starting, Consolidator, and Advanced Grants. At Yellow Research we have successfully trained candidates for writing ERC proposals since the 2008 call. Our knowledge and experience in pre-submission review of ERC proposals is an important aspect of our success in this training.




Part I

ERC Grants

Overview, ERC objectives, Selection criteria and Evaluation procedure

Coffee & tea break

Part II

Scientific Proposal

We use the project template to explain per paragraph ‘state-of the-art and objectives’, ‘methodology’ and ‘resources’:

  • What needs to be addressed for the in depth reviewer
  • How to address this: What kind of conceptualizing is needed to tell the story

We will detail how to address 1) groundbreaking nature and ambition 2) high-gain/high-risk balance and the link to feasibility 3) the envisioned impact on future research and possibilities for utility 4) sound project plan and structure with intermediate goals and back-up plans.



Part II

Continuation and Discussion

Part III

Extended Synopsis

The extended synopsis is a 5 page summary of the Scientific Proposal with an emphasis on the potential feasibility of the outlined scientific approach for a project with potential breakthrough for science, engineering or scholarship

Part IV

Principal Investigator

We will explain how to highlight the ground-breaking aspects of your Curriculum Vitae including Funding ID and Track Record


End of course with Q&A

Course fee

The YR course fee is € 625,00 per participant (VAT exempted), incl. coffee & tea, lunch and course materials.

Date, Location, Contact

Date(s): not scheduled, available as in-house event

Time: 07:30 – 15:00

Location: Yellow Research, Veembroederhof 5-7, 1019 HD, Amsterdam


Click on the blue button ‘Book this course’ on the top of this page to book online. For questions about this course, please contact Sarah Jones at jones[at]yellowresearch[dot]nl .