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Interactive ERC trainings: Stand out with your ERC grant application and interview!

June 28 2019

ERC grants boost scientific careers but acquiring an ERC grant is very demanding. This is not only due to the excessive oversubscription: ERC applicants should have a strong competitive profile, which goes well beyond the standard eligibility criteria. ERC proposals should propose challenging, frontier research that clearly discriminates from previous research. While at the same time, the researcher should prove she or he is optimally equipped for the proposed tasks. An additional challenge is the required optimised mix of high-risk high-gain research and research with a high change to succeed. Our ERC grant approach has been designed to support researchers with developing a unique application that stands out from the competition. Our extensive training programs has been set up to share these lessons with you in 1, 2, or 5-day workshops. The workshops can take place at our headquarters in Utrecht or in-house at your organization.

All of our workshops have a highly interactive character, where plenary sessions are alternated with short and longer exercises. We offer a variety of trainings, which can be combined depending on your need. 

The two main trainings we offer for ERC, are our ERC grant writing trainings and ERC interview trainings. Below you can get an overview of some of the topics covered in the trainings.

ERC Grant writing training


Our consultants provide strong writing capacity and hands-on guidance in how to structure innovative ideas into an appealing and personal research grant which has a high chance of success. We help you with optimization of the CVs, selecting the right panel, and designing an attractive research proposal with a coherent structure and a clear impact on science and society.  We have designed our Fast Forward (FFWD) methodology, identified best practices and adapted winning writing strategies such as the Pyramid Principle to increase success rate.

Topics covered, will include:

  • What are key formal and informal criteria?
  • How will my proposal be evaluated?
  • How can I take the reviewer’s perspective?
  • What makes a scientific vision a good fit for ERC?
  • How can I be convincing while remaining authentic?
  • How can I build a sound (hypothesis-driven) project strategy / work plan?
  • How can I stand out over the competition?
  • What are (textual) best practices?
  • How to best prepare for the ERC presentation / interview?
  • How can I optimise my CV for the purpose of the grant?
  • How to organise the grant writing process?
ERC Interview training

We are happy to share our findings and best practices through the organisation of a dedicated ERC grant interview training in which we optimally prepare ERC grant applicants. The training consists of a 1-day interactive workshop with a large focus on practising and improving the ERC presentation since this will have the highest impact on the success rate.

The interview training covers the following topics:

  • Essentials on the ERC process in Brussels (panels, experts, peer review, talk, questions, etc.).
  • How to make a successful pitch? (e.g. best practices from TED talks, etc.).
  • The most effective set-up of your ERC presentation:
    • How to start?
    • How to end?
  • Do’s and don’ts during the interview.
  • How to be authentic in your pitch?
  • What are the most common panel questions and how to address them?
  • Why are you the one to make this ERC research happen (focus on personal motivation)?
  • How to best prepare for the ERC presentation / interview?

In-depth review to prepare for actual questions

To prepare questions for the workshop that also the committee could ask, we will conduct a thorough review of your written application. More specifically, ttopstart will extensively assess the proposal on the following criteria:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal and the PI(s)?
  • Are the risks properly identified and mitigated?
  • Is the framework of the project optimally structured (also for the ERC presentation)?
  • Does the proposal optimally address the ERC goals?
  • Does the proposal sufficiently address the proposed problems?
  • Does the project answer a market and/or societal need?
  • Is the work plan clear, well-structured and pragmatic?
  • Is the budget in relation to the project?
  • Does the proposal optimally score on the evaluation criteria?

Book your ERC training today:

We are able to provide trainings tailored to your specific need. Book your training now at

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