ERC grants are awarded through open competition to projects headed by starting and established researchers, irrespective of their origins, who are working or moving to work in Europe. The sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence. The aim here is to recognise the best ideas, and confer status and visibility on the best brains in Europe, while also attracting talent from abroad.

ERC Advanced Grants are awwarded to established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements, up to 2.5€ million for 5 years.