Study confirms impact of ERC blue-sky research
The European Research Council (ERC) has presented an independent study published on 11 September 2017, which finds that the ERC's blue sky research continues to make an impact. The study looked at the outputs of ERC projects. Overall confirming the outcome of last year's pilot study, 73% of projects evaluated have made breakthroughs or major scientific advances. The report found that the ERC is achieving its goals of funding high-risk/high-gain projects and interdisciplinary frontier research.
The study was based on high-level peer reviewers evaluating a random sample of 155 concluded Starting and Advanced Grant projects. They found that 25% of ERC projects made real breakthroughs, and another 48% could be classified as major scientific advances. About 27% of the projects were incremental or, in a very few cases, did not make an appreciable scientific contribution. The study concludes that the ERC indeed funds high-risk/high-gain projects, in accordance with its mission, and that such projects are more likely to lead to breakthroughs. It also highlights the interdisciplinarity of many ERC projects.
The study furthermore found that impact went beyond scientific spheres, despite that this aspect was not taken into account at the time of funding. ERC-funded research has the potential to benefit the economy and society at large, with nearly half of the projects already having had impact in this respect and more than three quarters predicted to have such impact in the medium and long term.
For more information and download of the study: