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UK tops latest round of ERC Proof-of-Concept funding

Image: Nasa, via Wikimedia Commons

Twelve of 66 winning researchers want to do their work in the UK

The UK has proved to be the most popular host country in the European Research Council’s latest funding round for Proof-of-Concept grants, despite it being currently ineligible to host those researchers.

Twelve of the 66 winning researchers in the PoC funding round want to do their work in the UK, ahead of second-placed Germany with nine and Spain with eight, the ERC announced on 5 May.

PoC grants are open only to researchers who have previously won ERC funding for basic research. They provide €150,000 each to explore the commercial or societal potential of that earlier work.

Grants have supported work ranging from detecting space debris to providing plant nutrients. The latest winners, from one of three 2023 PoC funding rounds, were selected from 122 evaluated proposals.

As the ERC is part of the EU’s 2021-27 Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, its grants may only be hosted by EU member states or countries associated to the programme.

The UK’s bid for association is still being negotiated, and unless it is completed by the time the 12 researchers wanting to work there are due to sign their grants, they will have to decide whether to move those grants elsewhere or accept replacement funding from the UK government.