First ERC Advanced Grants competition: Some statistics
On 26 June 2008, the European Research Council (ERC) published the official statistics of the submissions to the call for Advanced Grants. With a of total 2167 proposals that were submitted to the three domain deadlines throughout spring, the participation rate is considerably lower than for the previously launched Starting Grants for younger researchers.
766 proposals were submitted in the domain of "Life Sciences and Medicine", 997 in "Physical Sciences and Engineering" and 404 in "Social Science and Humanities". 50 nationalities are represented (2% Swiss nationals), the scientists working at institutions in 36 different countries (4.5% in Swiss institutions)
14% of applicants are women. The average age is 52 years, which reflects the target group of the ERC Advanced Grant scheme, i.e. already established research leaders. The call budget amounts to €517 million.
The proposals have gone through the first step of peer review. During the period of time June to September 2008, these proposals will be further evaluated in the second step.
President F. Kafatos said: "The number of Advanced Grants applications is considerably lower than the number of applications to the first call for Starting Grants last year. This is not a surprise to us as limiting measures were taken by the ERC Scientific Council after the overwhelming mass of applications received for the first ERC call (over 9000). Now, after the first evaluation stage, we can see that the overall quality of the proposals submitted is really excellent. We are aware that the relatively low proportion of women applicants is a general problem in European research, especially in the target group of established researchers. This is a concern which the ERC will continue to address at every level."