Changes are part of plans for a smooth transition to the next EU research programme
The European Research Council (ERC) is to add two new panels to its peer review system, as part of a plan for a smooth transition of its funding schemes from Horizon 2020, to Horizon Europe, the EU’s 2021 – 2027 research programme.
Currently, ERC has evaluation panels in three broad scientific fields. Nine panels cover the life sciences, six cover social sciences and humanities, while there are 10 physical sciences and engineering panels.
It is planned to add an eleventh physical sciences panel on materials engineering and a seventh social sciences panel on human mobility, environment and space. This will cover research on demography, population health, sustainability science, territorial planning and spatial analysis.
The ERC said the changes made by the scientific council reflect its continuous monitoring of how panels perform in terms of the number of proposals assessed in each call, the disciplinary coherence within and across panels, and the place of interdisciplinary research in the panel structure.
The scientific council has also decided to introduce face-to-face interviews in the evaluation process of ERC Advanced Grants. Interviews are already used for Starting and Consolidator Grants.
During the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe, the ERC may have a different calendar for research calls, but it will return to its normal schedule by mid-2022.
Starting, Consolidator, Advanced Grants and Proof of Concept projects are expected to be launched in 2021 and 2022, but their opening and closing dates will be shifted so that the first calls will be launched only in January 2021.