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ERC’s 2025 budget plan includes big boosts for some grants

European Research Council increases Starting, Consolidator and Synergy Grant indicative budgets by a quarter

The European Research Council has significantly boosted the overall funding it plans to make available for some of its main grant types in 2025, while slightly reducing the budget for Advanced Grants.

A 2025 ERC work programme was adopted by the European Commission on 9 July. It sets out an overall budget for the funder of €2.71 billion for next year, up from €2.34bn in 2024.

But the 2025 budget has been significantly bolstered by funding being contributed by countries associated to the EU’s broader research and innovation programme, which the ERC is part of.

An ERC spokesperson told Research Professional News that the associated country contributions were only partly included in 2024 and that this was the reason for the apparent shifts in budgets between its main grants year-on-year.

Funding allocations

Starting Grants for early career researchers have been given an indicative budget of €751 million to fund 483 grants in 2025, up by about a quarter from €601m for 387 grants in 2024.

Similarly, Consolidator Grants for mid-career researchers have been allocated €719m for 354 grants, up by just under a quarter from €584m for 291 grants this year.

Synergy Grants, which support collaboration among multiple principal investigators, have been earmarked €500m for 48 grants, up a quarter in funding terms from €400m for 39 grants.

Advanced Grants, which support senior researchers, are set to get €683m for 276 grants, down just under 3 per cent from €703m for 285 grants last year.

An ERC spokesperson said that the 2024 work programme included money from associated countries only for the Advanced Grants. Once this is factored in, “the 2025 budget has hardly changed compared to 2024”, they said.

The UK associated to Horizon Europe from the start of 2024, which was too late for its contribution to be reflected more broadly in the 2024 ERC work programme. The ERC spokesperson said that the funder bolstered the budgets of its 2024 Starting and Consolidator Grant calls without amending the work programme.

Other announcements

Announcing the plan, the ERC pointed out that EU member states can transfer money to the ERC from the European Regional Development Fund to help it fund more grants within their borders.

The funder also said it would use part of its broader 2025 budget to help National Contact Points share best practice, to monitor and evaluate the impact of its funding and to communicate its activities to a wider audience.

Earlier this month, the ERC announced that researchers at Swiss institutions would be eligible to apply for its 2025 Starting, Consolidator and Synergy Grants, but said they would be able to obtain the funding only if Switzerland associates to the broader R&I programme by the time the grants are ready to be signed. 

The Starting Grants call opened on 10 July, while the Synergy Grants call opens on 11 July. Their grants are due to be signed in December 2025 and March 2026 respectively. The Consolidator Grants call is due to open in September, with signatures expected in April 2026.

Update 11/7 – This article was updated with the information about the contribution from associated countries