ERC publishes Annual Report 2015
On 7 March 2016 the ERC published its Annual Report on the ERC's activities and achievements in 2015. This was the year when the landmark 5,000th grant was signed. The ERC calls from the 2015 Work Programme for the core ERC schemes (Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants) yielded a total of 6 924 proposals, representing a 14 % decrease compared to 2014, in large proportion due to stricter submission restrictions introduced by the Scientific Council to ensure that the evaluators are not overwhelmed.
In the seven-year period of the Horizon 2020 programme, the ERC’s budget is EUR 13.1 billion. This represents around 17 % of the entire Horizon 2020 budget. For 2015, the total annual budget was EUR 1.7 billion. The ERC was not affected by Horizon 2020 budget cuts following the establishment of the European Fund for Strategic Investments. After three years with a budget lower than the one of 2013 (FP7 last year), the call budgets will be gradually increasing each year from 2017 on.
The quality of the evaluation process is crucial for the success of the ERC. The evaluation process was organised as usual into 25 different evaluation panels per call, involving more than 2 000 panel members and over 11 700 external reviewers over the first two years of Horizon 2020. 349 Starting and 302 Consolidator projects have been selected for funding through a peer review process, bringing the total to over 1,500 ERC Horizon 2020 grantees. The Advanced Grant 2015 proposals were still under evaluation at the moment of printing this report. At the same time, 339 proposals were submitted to the Proof of Concept 2015 call with three deadlines (a decrease of 23 % compared to 2014, also due to the introduction of stricter submission rules), of which 135 projects have been selected for funding.