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ERC and Marie Curie work programme updates

In today’s blog, Alan Kennedy, Senior Research Development Specialist (EU & International) gives an update on the European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) work programmes.

As well as the Societal Challenge work programme updates that I discussed in yesterday’s blog, the European Commission has also published the last ERC and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) work programmes of Horizon 2020.

European Research Council

The ERC’s 2020 work programme has been published and there are no major changes to the schemes. Important facts and figures include:

  • Starting Grant: €677m in funding, covering approx. 455 projects. Deadline 16/10/2019
  • Consolidator Grant: €657m in funding, covering approx. 343 projects. Deadline 04/02/2020
  • Advanced Grant: €492, in funding, covering approx. 209 projects, deadline 26/08/2020
  • Synergy Grant: €350m funding, covering 39 projects, deadline 05/11/2020
  • Proof of Concept grant: €25m to cover 167 projects, with three collection dates on 21/01/2020, 23/04/2020, and 17/09/2020

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

The updated MSCA work programme was also recently published. This programme too has seen only minor changes and a slight budget increase for Innovative Training Networks and Individual Fellowships.  Key points include:

  • Innovative Training Networks (ITN): budget €530m, deadline 14/01/2020
  • Individual Fellowships (IF): budget €328m, deadline 09/09/2020
  • Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE) : budget of €80m, deadline 28/04/2020
  • COFUND: budget €100m, deadline 29/09/2020
  • Researchers Night: €8m, deadline 09/01/2020


Unlike in the area of Societal Challenges, Brexit may have a significant impact on ERC and MSCA calls, as most of their schemes are not open to third countries. The current date that the UK is expected to leave the EU is 31st October 2019, therefore, currently, the only call guaranteed to accept UK applicants is the ERC Starting Grant (deadline: 16/10/2019). In the event the UK leaves with the withdrawal agreement in place, the UK’s participation will continue as normal.

Participation as a third country

In Horizon 2020 terminology, a ‘third country’ is any country in the world which is not an EU member state, or country associated with Horizon 2020.  In the event of a no deal brexit, the UK would be considered a third country.

The ERC’s Synergy Grant does allow one third country participant, which will be funded by the ERC. Similarly, third countries can participate in Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges, and the UK could also host the outgoing phase of MSCA Global fellowships.

More information

Contact our European and International funding experts in the Research Support Office’s Research Funding Team:

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Alan Kennedy


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