Slashed science budgets drive young researchers to seek EU funding.
A 50% spike in demand for European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants has pulled this year's success rate down to 9%, and is likely to lead to changes in some eligibility requirements. ERC president Helga Nowotny says that the increase — to 3,329 applications this year, of which 287 were successful — is attributable in part to research-budget cuts in some European nations. The ERC, based in Brussels, will consider lengthening the period between resubmissions to reduce the flow of applications, she adds. Starting Grants, now in their sixth year, fund researchers who finished their doctorate in the past 2–7 years. This year, the ERC spent nearly €400 million (US$527 million) on the awards, which are worth up to €2 million each and last for up to five years.
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Grant popularity soars. Nature 500, 113 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nj7460-113c