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DKK 100,000 in midwife help for an ERC grant

Health is establishing a funding pool totalling DKK 1.5 million for distribution among 15 researchers who wish to position themselves for an ERC grant. The DKK 100,000 can be used for anything that helps researchers write a good application and the offer is open to everyone – including researchers who do not already have a long CV.

2018.06.05 | Nanna Jespersgård

Ole Steen Nielsen. vice-dean for research, fears that junior researchers may hold back due to an incorrect idea about exactly what is required when applying for a starting grant, which is where the new “midwife” help comes into the picture.

DKK 100,000 to help researchers – both junior and experienced – who are readying an application for an ERC grant. This is a new offer from the Dean's Office, which has earmarked DKK 1.5 million to support selected researchers who are about to start on an ERC application.

“Preparing an ERC application is a demanding task. So we have therefore decided to help 15 researchers who have a good but not yet fully fledged idea with a grant of DKK 100,000 which can qualify the research project and thereby lead to a really good application," says Vice-dean for Research Ole Steen Nielsen.

Grant applications must be sent by 1 July this year, and if you are selected as one of the recipients of a DKK 100,000 package, the money may be used for anything that prepares the researcher to send an ERC application. However, it is a compulsory condition that the process must end with an ERC application no later than two years after the money has been granted.

Open for all

At the same time, the management team finds it important to emphasise that this offer is open to everyone. Also junior research talents who cannot show off an extensive CV or a long list of publications.

"Applying for a starting grant and an advanced grant are worlds apart and I fear that some people hold back because of incorrect ideas about what exactly is required. We’re also fully aware that the ERC application can discourage people simply because it’s so time-consuming," says Ole Steen Nielsen, who reminds researchers that they can apply for an ERC Starting Grant with just two years of experience in continuation of their PhD. Always assuming that they have the required calibre.

And this is where the 15 packages of DKK 100,000 to prepare the application comes into the picture. They can be used for e.g. own salary, workload reduction of research colleagues, visits to relevant research groups in Denmark and abroad, conferences (with associated travel and hotel expenses), purchasing statistical help, a writing retreat in a monastery or publishing against payment – just to give a few examples, though more untraditional and out-of-the-box applications are also welcome.

Think untraditionally

"The money is an attempt to provide financial support that will free the researcher to think openly and creatively about what it is that can enhance or develop his or her research project. But it must, of course, be possible for the controller to approve the investment in accordance with usual accounting policies, though otherwise there are no constraints,“ says Ole Steen Nielsen.

Any researchers wishing to apply for a DKK 100,000 package can use June to quickly think about the ERC project for which they will apply for funding. They must submit four pages in order to be considered, and the announcement can be obtained either via their own department head or via Henry Andreasen, who is an adviser in the Dean's Office. Applicants will be notified no later than 5 July.

Research Support Office as sparring partner

"At the faculty management meeting on 19 June, we will, among other things. discuss a draft proposal from Health and the Research Support Unit about how the university’s fundraisers plan to support researchers who come into consideration - and it goes without saying that the Research Support Unit will be a compulsory sparring partner in accordance with the university's general rules for researchers applying for EU funds," says Ole Steen Nielsen.

Applicants who are eligible for the DKK 100,000 will receive more information about what the help package from the Research Support Office entails.

More about ERC grants

ERC (The European Research Council) awards a range of grants of various types to researchers who are employed at a European University. Health's help package of DKK 100,000 relates to the following grants:

  • Starting Grants awarded to promising junior research talents between two and seven years after having obtained a PhD degree. Up to EUR 1.5 million is awarded to groundbreaking research projects over a five-year period.
  • Consolidator Grants awarded to promising junior research talents and research group leaders between two and seven years after having obtained a PhD degree. Up to EUR 2 million is awarded to groundbreaking research projects over a five-year period.
  • Advanced Grants (AdG) awarded to exceptional research group leaders who have already produced outstanding research results. Up to EUR 2,5 million is awarded to groundbreaking research projects over a five-year period.

The European Research Council has a budget of EUR 13 billion (2014-2020). It was founded in 2007 and is owned by the European Union.


Vice-dean for Research Ole Steen Nielsen
Email: osn@au.dk
Mobile: (+45) 2476 5093

The announcement can be obtained either via own department head or
via adviser in the Dean's Office Henry Andreasen
Email: ha@au.dk
Phone: (+45) 8715 2004
Mobile: (+45) 2033 8578

Research, Health and disease, Academic staff, Department of Biomedicine, Health, Technical / administrative staff, Department of Public Health, Public/Media, Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine