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BLOG: How to write a successful ERC Proof of Concept (PoC) grant

January 27 2016

The ERC PoC programme can help your innovation to make the very first steps towards commercialisation.

Have you discovered something new and exciting? Then the ERC PoC programme can help to make the very first steps towards commercialisation. The ERC Proof of Concept" is a funding scheme open to researchers who have already been awarded an ERC grant. Its purpose is to help ERC grants to explore the innovation potential of their research or support commercialisation of the results of their ERC-funded research.


It is important to make sure your project fits the ERC PoC programme, i.e.:

  • You are an ERC laureate;
  • You have a protectable invention that results from your ERC research (preferably a patent application has been filed);
  • You have sound preliminary data;
  • There is clear commercialisation potential;
  • There is no definitive commercialisation plan yet.

Examples include:

New medical devices, new therapies, platform technologies, IVDs, robotic systems, research tools.


The structure of your proposal will help to guide the reviewers, who are typically not familiar with the technology.

  • Start from the problem you are addressing and quantify it;
  • Present your proposition i.e. “Our platform will be the first to allow stratification of patients at risk of …” instead of “Our platform is super sensitive”;
  • Make sure to balance technological work and commercial feasibility assessmen;
  • Involve business developers (e.g. from your tech transfer office and/or ttopstart).


The reviewer will judge your proposal on the feasibility plan, not the underlying science, so there is no need for lengthy scientific descriptions. Furthermore:

  • Keep it simple;
  • Be specific;
  • Focus on the business case;
  • Refrain from very generic / high-level market descriptions; such as “The market for stem cells will reach  € X bln by 2020”;
  • Clearly list the steps needed towards market introduction and commercial success.


The ERC PoC is all about commercialisation.

  • Illustrate both the short and the long-term impact of the project on e.g. patients, society, industry and/or science;
  • Make sure you show you understand the market and its challenges;
  • Include all relevant aspects of commercialisation: IP, possible; business / earnings models, route to market, team, market size, regulatory aspects, etc;
  • Get support letters from industry;
  • Make sure to include a risk and mitigation plan;
  • Keep the end-goal in mind: an investor’s case.

For more information visit our funding database.

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