H2020 ERC 2019 Call How to fine-tune an ERC Grant Proposal

This workshop is open to ERC Consolidator applicants who: have previously submitted an ERC proposal, either successfully or unsuccessfully. In this workshop we will discuss the ERC evaluation criteria for the research proposal and how to address these, keeping the panel specifics in mind. Several individual tasks included will focus on fine-tuning your proposal.

The ERC selection criteria applied by the panels use terms which have become familiar jargon, such as “important challenge”, “novel concept”, “novel scientific approach”, “significant gain” and “feasibility”. Each panel uses these terms differently, depending on the research field. In this workshop we will not only discuss what these terms mean and imply under the ERC umbrella but also how the different ERC panel members use these terms to discuss, assess and select project proposals. For example, the term “challenge” has a different meaning in basic physics than in social sciences or life sciences. And how would you define “important challenge” in your field of research? The term “concept” also has different meanings across the panels. What do these differences imply for the proposed research?

This workshop will supply you with the knowledge necessary to tweak your project idea and/or drafts for an ERC proposal and will be an invaluable aid in meeting the ERC standards and getting one step closer to obtaining an ERC grant.

Using the ERC guide “Information for Applicants to the Consolidator Applicants 2019 call” we will discuss how you can address the ERC selection criteria and the panel specifics and draft a competitive project proposal. What should be emphasised in the B1 part and what in the B2 part? Therefore, during the workshop individual tasks will be tailored to your research field and subsequently discussed in general terms.

We will also discuss how you can convey the message to the reader that you are the right PI for the proposed research.

Training objectives

To provide researchers with a good understanding of:

  • the terms used in the ERC evaluation criteria;
  • how to demonstrate that they are the right PI for the proposed research;
  • how to write a competitive scientific proposal considering panel specifics and type of project.

Who should attend?

The workshop will be of value for applicants who have 1) experience with submitting (successfully or not) an ERC proposal in the past, and 2) preferably a version ready for the upcoming call. Depending on the scientific backgrounds of the participants we will highlight domain specific issues. The workshop is limited to a maximum of 12 ERC candidates.


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 information on the topics listed in the programme.


Dr Mette Skraastad, founding partner of Yellow Research, has extensive experience in running ERC workshops and in presubmission reviewing of ERC Starting, Consolidator, and Advanced Grants. At Yellow Research we have successfully trained candidates for writing ERC proposals since the 2008 call. Her knowledge and experience in pre submission review of ERC proposals is an important aspect of successfully training ERC applicants.


From 8:45 Coffee and tea is served

Start of the workshop

Part I

ERC objectives and focus

We will discuss the ERC objectives and what kind of research the ERC panels are looking for.

Part II

ERC evaluation criteria and panels

We will take the terms in the ERC evaluation criteria and discuss how you can address these terms in your project proposal in view of the panel specifics. Includes an individual task. Please bring along your laptop.

Coffee break
Part III

Linking Challenge and Gain

Each panel is targeting different types of research. We will discuss what your primary panel has been funding in the past calls and where your project proposal can make a difference. Includes an individual task.

Part IV

Novelty and innovativeness

We will discuss what makes proposed research in your field novel and what makes it innovative, depending on your research field. Includes an individual task. Pens and paper will be available.

Short Break
Part V

How to balance high risk and high gain

In this section we will discuss how to address the high risk and high gain balance and how to convince the panel that the proposed research is high-quality research and sufficiently mature.

Part VI

B1 part and B2 part content

We will discuss together, using the evaluation criteria and writing instructions, what should be addressed in the B1 part and what in the B2 part.

16:00 Drinks

Date, Location, Contact

Date(s): Friday 14th December 2018

Time: 09.00 – 16.00 hrs

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

Fee: € 625 per participant (VAT exempted), incl. coffee & tea, lunch, and course materials.

Limitation: In total 12 applicants can attend the workshop. Before registration you will be asked to indicate topic and primary panel to avoid any conflict of interest between applicants.

Laptop: Bring your own laptop for the individual tasks requiring internet searches.


To book this course, please contact Sarah Jones at jones[at]yellowresearch[dot]nl .