The ERC is the first European funding body established to support research at the boundaries of knowledge - so called "frontier research." . The investigator-driven approach aims to promote the exploration of entirely new possibilities and directions in research. The goal is to fund highly innovative and high-risk as well as basic research oriented projects, which will retain and confer status and visibility to the best brains in Europe, while also attracting talented scientists from abroad. Project selection is carried out by scientific panels on the sole criterion of scientific excellence.
The ERC was implemented as part of the 7th EU Research Framework Programme, and officially entered effect 1 January 2007 under the German Presidency of the Council. From 2014 to 2020 it is funded by the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation "Horizon 2020".
The ERC consists of a Scientific Council and an Executive Agency. The Scientific Council is the policy-setting body of the European Research Council. It acts on behalf of the scientific community in Europe to promote creativity and innovative research. It directs the scientific strategy and establishes procedures for the evaluation of proposals via peer-review. Its members are 22 renowned scientists.
The Executive Agency applies the strategies and methodologies in the management and operations of the ERC funding activities. The ERC operates with autonomy and integrity which is guaranteed by the EU Commission, to which it is accountable.
In collaboration between the EU Bureau of the BMBF and KoWi, the National Contact Point ERC offers advice and information for potential applicants at German scientific institutions on behalf of the BMBF.
The National Contact Point offers scientists as well as disseminators the following services:
Providing individual advice in all questions concerning the ERC application (phone/e-mail);
organizing information and support events for potential applicants (workshops/talks);
organizing interview trainings;