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Thursday, 18 June 2020

Training researchers to write successful ERC Grant proposals

The ICN2 Strategy Development Office offered to research group leaders a training on best practices to write a successful ERC grant proposal. Freelance consultant Stewe Bekk and researcher and grant writing experts Dr Malte Beringer shared their knowledge in the field and provided relevant advice for preparing competitive proposals.

Writing a European Research Council (ERC) Grant proposal is not easy task and requires not only being able to count on a outstanding research project idea, but also having the ability to explain it clearly and to present at best its novelty, the advantages of the methodology to be used, as well as the applications and impact on society that such research is expected to produce. Experts in both proposal writing and the ERC grant evaluation process can offer consultancy and provide researchers with very useful advice.

In order to assist our group leaders in the process of preparing their proposals, on June 5 the ICN2 Strategy Development Office hosted a special internal webinar about how to write a successful ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) proposal. This training was provided by Stewe Bekk, a freelance consultant and project manager with 12 years of experience in handling and soliciting research projects, and Dr Malte Beringer, a postdoctoral researcher in Biochemistry with extensive hands-on experience in scientific paper and grant writing.

The webinar opened up with an overview of the ERC AdG call, the submission process and the evaluation of the projects. Then, Bekk focused on the proposal preparation, analysing all the sections it is made of, explaining what applicants are supposed to write in each of them and providing useful advice on how to best describe the project and catch the attention of the panelists. A session of questions from the attendants, to which both Bekk and Beringer replied, closed the training.

The ERC AdG is a prestigious grant established by the European Union to fund ground-breaking, high-risk projects proposed by outstanding research leaders. In the previous call (2019), ICREA Prof. Dr Clivia Sotomayor Torres, leader of the ICN2 Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures Group, was awarded one of such grants to lead a five-year project aiming at developing a disruptive technology to reduce energy consumption of electronic circuits.