ERC adopts new funding scheme to boost tech transfer
Brussels – Up to now the European Research Council (ERC) exclusively funded excellent fundamental research encouraging researchers to think outside the box. With the new EU Innovation Union, the Organisation, which has a budget of EUR7.5bn, has left this path. Under a new FP-7 programme the ERC provides EUR 150,000 for top researchers, who already have an ERC grant, to bring their research much closer to market. Under the Proof of Concept initiative, the researchers could use the extra funding for activities such as market research, technical validation, and commercial and business opportunity analysis. Proof of Concept will help the ERC grant holders prepare and present a 'package' to venture capitalists or enterprises that could potentially invest in the innovative technology and take it through the early commercialisation phase. 'Frontier research always yields some unexpected results,' explains ERC President Helga Nowotny from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). 'These may be scientific findings, but also new technologies whose full potential still needs to be further explored. In this period of transition, the ERC would like to offer support to those of its grantees, whose work is ripe with promises for innovation and its commercial potential.