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ERC provides detail on tweaks to assessment rules

Image: Grace Gay for Research Professional

Changes for 2024 include chance to explain career breaks and contributions to the research community

The European Research Council has released more details on how it is tweaking its assessment of funding applications.

In late 2022, the flagship EU research funder said it would change its evaluation procedures to allow applicants to say more about their careers and their wider contributions to the research community.

On 28 April, the ERC said that when the changes take place for the 2024 calendar of funding calls, applicants will have space in the application to “include relevant information on, for example, career breaks, unusual career paths, as well as any particularly noteworthy contributions to the research community”.

“These will not in themselves be evaluated but are important to provide context to the evaluation panels when assessing the principal investigator’s research achievements and peer recognition in relation to their career stage,” the ERC added.

Other changes to the application process include the merging of CVs and the applicants’ track record into a single document, and the scrapping of a requirement for detailed profiles of principal investigators.

The ERC reiterated that applications “will continue to be evaluated based on the sole criterion of scientific excellence”.

Lump sums

The funder is also due to pilot lump-sum funding for the 2024 call for Advanced Grants, meaning researchers will have to provide detailed spending plans before starting work rather than carefully tracking their costs during a project.

The lump sum can include additional funding for purchasing major equipment or accessing research facilities, the ERC said, and grantholders will still be able to transfer their grant to a different researcher if required.