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Top performing countries in ERC grant acquisition

July 18 2017

The Netherlands, Switzerland and Israel are top-performers in ERC; Poland, Greece, Czech and Slovakia underperform.

The European Research Council (ERC) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. How have European countries performed over the last decade?

About the ERC grants

The ERC encourages the best scientists and scholars in Europe to pursue the highest quality research in Europe. ERC Grants are a great means to open new research avenues and boost scientific careers, but writing and acquiring such a grant can be a challenging feat. ERC applicants should have a strong and competitive profile, high scientific output, and should be a leader in the field, who can guarantee scientific excellence.

ERC performance by country

To get a view on how European countries have been performing, we counted the number of ERCs granted in each country and compared this to the number of top980 universities in each country (g/U) (figure A). The illustration shows a clear distinction between high performing (Green), average/medium performing (Orange) and low performing (Blue) countries. The high performing countries show strong superiority above the rest with Israel at 70 g/U, followed by Switzerland and the Netherlands, both at 51 g/U.  This group has almost 2 times more ERC grants awarded per university than countries in the medium performing group such as the UK, Germany and France.

ERC grant country performace

There is a strong correlation between the number of ERCs and top universities in each country (R=0.88) (Figure B). However, there is an interesting group of countries which have similar numbers of top universities (0-17) but have high spread in the number of ERCs granted (0-663) (Figure C). Interestingly, all the top and low performing countries are in this group, indicating a strong difference between how these countries approach ERC grant writing.

University performance in ERC grants

These data show that having more top universities in your country creates a breeding ground to multiply your chances to acquire ERC funding. However, there are certain countries, such as the Netherlands, which utilize their talent, network, and knowledge to their maximal potential. This shows that there are lessons to be learned from these countries on how to successfully write an ERC grant for a higher and more efficient cash-in.

About ttopstart

ttopstart supports European researchers and institutes to get most out of the ERC programme through dedicated training programmes, strategic support and grant writing excellence. For more information or to request assistance you can contact us.

Download complete document:

You can download the complete ERC performance document for free by filling in the form below.

The complete document includes:

  • An analysis of the ranking of the countries after considering the average size of the universities in each country
  • Country-specific information for the Netherlands: Distribution of ERC grants awarded to to each Dutch university compared to its size
  • Complete raw data
  • High-resolution graphs

Please contact us for more country- or university specific data. 

Sources:

https://erc.europa.eu/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/

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