ERC Starting Grants

Institute of Physics

This document describes the process for getting support from the Institute of Physics (IPHYS) to apply as a non-professor. EPFL professors can refer to the Research Office funding page for their own application process.


Upon successful application, ERC Starting Grant awardees will receive the title of Research & Teaching Associate (collaborateur·trice scientifique senior). They head their own research group and supervise the PhD students involved in their project.

Important note: ERC Starting Grants fund up to 1.5 M€ for a maximum of 5 years, the maximum size of the awards being reduced pro rata temporis for projects of a shorter duration. 960k€ needs to be included in the ERC requested budget for ERC applicants who claim their full salary on the ERC grant. This significantly limits the budget in terms of other research funding costs, hence seriously limiting the scope of the project. Therefore, IPHYS discourages applications including the full salary of the PI on the ERC grant and encourage applicants to fund at least part of their salary from other sources. IPHYS cannot support part of the salary of ERC awardees, other than salaries associated with pre-existing employment contracts.

ERC Starting Grant applicants who would like to work at IPHYS must first be approved by the hosting institute.

Description of the selection process

For the purpose of the internal selection process, a supporting professor needs to endorse the application. This supporting professor must be ready to take over the supervision of the involved PhD students should the grant holder leave EPFL. Moreover, the supporting professor needs to state in the endorsement letter either that they commit to provide the necessary space and infrastructure (including administrative support) for the success of the proposed project, or they need to provide a list of required lab (with specifications) and office space, and infrastructure. The IPHYS selection is based on the plans of the supporting lab to integrate the candidate and the ability of IPHYS to satisfy the needs of the candidate’s project.

With the transition to the Horizon Europe framework, the call for ERC Starting Grants is postponed this year. It is expected that the call will be launched in January 2021 with a deadline March 9th 2021 (tentative date).

The IPHYS procedure goes as follows:

  • Candidates need to fill out the EPFL online pre-application form for ERC Starting Grant, upload a CV with publication list, project description, motivation letter, PhD diploma, budget projection (using the EPFL budget calculator provided in the EPFL toolkit), and submit their pre-application. Deadline: 10/01/2021
  • The Research Office, Human Resources, and (if applicable) the Equipment & Centers Management Office conduct an administrative and eligibility check.
  • The Director of the Institute discusses the case internally with the Executive Committee, and proposes a list of candidates to be supported in their ERC Starting Grant application to the Dean, who takes the final decision on FSB candidates.
  • The Research Office provides the supported candidates with the Host Institution support letter.

Since the ERC call is still not published, the Research Office has published a provisional tool kit, accessible here. This toolkit will be continuously updated and the official call documents provided as soon as possible upon the call opening. The application toolkit will contain all details. Please read all the documents carefully, follow the instructions and make sure that your application file fulfils all the requirements. Incomplete files will not be considered. If you have questions regarding the information contained in the present document, please contact Blandine Jérôme ([email protected], +41 21 69 33376). If you have questions regarding the application toolkit, please contact the Research Office ([email protected]).

Timeline & deadlines

Deadline for EPFL online pre-application form: 10/01/2021

End administrative and eligibility check: 22/01/2021

Selection by IPHYS and FSB by: 26/02/2021

ERC Starting Grant application deadline: March 24th, 2021 (TBC)


EPFL toolkit for ERC Starting Grants (provisional)

EPFL online pre-application form

ERC Starting Grants