The European Commission presented the ERC Work Programme for 2021 - the first one under Horizon Europe, the new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for 2021-2027. It includes three main calls for proposals for frontier research for a total amount of €1.9 billion. The first of these calls – a type of grants called Starting Grants - supports young researchers, starting their own independent team. The deadline for applications is 8 April. This will be followed on 11 March by a call for researchers who are consolidating their own independent research team - Consolidator Grants. The deadline for this strand of funding is 20 April. And finally, on 20 May the European Research Council will launch a call for Advanced Grants for leading advanced investigators, with a deadline on 31 August. Over the entire seven-year EU budget, the European Research Council is set to receive over €16 billion - an increase of 22% compared to the previous programme, Horizon 2020.
Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, reached by the EU and the UK on 24 December, the UK will become an associated country to Horizon Europe. UK universities, research centres, scientists, innovative businesses and industry can apply for the ERC grants from the start. This associated status means that UK participants will have the same rights as EU participants. UK entities are eligible for funding at the same rates and under the same conditions. They can lead project consortia. They also count towards the minimum number of countries in calls for transnational projects.
Sixteen countries were associated to Horizon 2020. Horizon Europe will be open to European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members, which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA); acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy.