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From 22 May

How to design and write an ERC proposal

The webinar, organized by Ufficio Finanziamenti individuali e per la Ricerca di base (RIMIN) and held in English by consultant Lotte Jaspers (Yellow Research) will provide participants with in depth understanding of the nature of an ERC proposal and how to write such proposal.

The course will be conducted in two separate webinars:
- Webinar 1 (May 22) will focus on creating the right mindset for submitting a proposal, covering the ERC objectives and evaluation criteria, what the panels expect, how to strategically approach the design of the project, and how to generate the convincing argumentation that will allow the reviewers to understand the feasibility of your ambitious project. In particular, the webinar will be structured as follows:
Part 1: ERC Grant Introduction: overview of the programme, objectives, Work Programme, evaluation procedure and criteria. This introduction allows us to take a deep dive in how to write the proposal and how to make best use of the open template the ERC offers.
Part 2: B2 Scientific Proposal: the project template will be used to explain per section ‘B2a state-of the-art and objectives’, ‘B2b methodology’ and ‘Appendix Funding ID’: What needs to be addressed for the in-depth reviewer; How to address this: What kind of conceptualizing is needed to logically detail the scientific arguments. The focus will be on how to detail:
a) the ground-breaking nature and ambition
b) the balance between an ambitious and at the same time feasible proposal
c) sound project plan and structure with intermediate goals and back-up plans for an ambitious project
d) the envisioned impact on future research and possibilities of commercial or social innovation.

Webinar 2 (May 29) will focus on how to write the B1, that is the forward projection to the B2 full proposal in only five- pages. The webinar will explain how to select the key elements from the B2 and how to present them to a group of 3-4 panel members having great scientific intuition but lacking in-depth expertise on the topic of the proposal.
Part 1: Wrapping up any remaining issues from webinar 1 and answering questions stemming from webinar 1.
Part 2: The abstract of 2000 characters. Writing this abstract is a good exercise in diving deep into what is at the heart of your proposal before writing the B1a Extended Synopsis. But the abstract has a broader and more strategic role in the entire evaluation process. Therefore, the webinar will approach how to write the abstract from different angles including why sometimes making use of a graphical abstract will enhance the principal understanding of your proposal.
Part 3: Writing the B1a Extended Synopsis. This synopsis needs to contain all important information from the B2. How to make the decisions as to what is the important information for reviewers who are not in-depth experts but have strong scientific intuition aboutwhat makes research outstanding. We will discuss what the basic building blocks are for writing the B1a and where summaries suffice.
Part 4: CV and Track-record. The CV and Track-record should provide the reviewers with qualitative arguments as to why you are the right PI. This is a radical change from the past where a lot of emphasis was placed on high-impact papers.
The webinars will be as interactive as possible, and beyond the specific Q&A sessions, participants will be free to ask questions at any time.
After the webinars, participants will have access to an online platform where the following resources will be available:
- webinar recording;
- tutorials and their handouts. Structured around the unique knowledge and expertise of Yellow Research regarding the evaluation criteria, the design of a competitive proposal and what is key in strategizing grant writing;
- background guide. This guide has been developed over the past 16 years by Yellow Research and captures our latest insights on what panels are looking for.

The webinar is open to Politecnico di Torino staff only and you need to register at the following link by May 16 (you will not receive a confirmation e-mail). Participants will receive instructions on how to connect to the webinar by email the day before the workshop.

Further information: Maria Onorato and Valeria Di Caro, Ufficio Finanziamenti individuali e per la Ricerca di base (RIMIN),

Lotte Jaspers
For the past 30 years, Lotte Jaspers has gained broad practical experience in the issues of technology transfer and obtaining EU grants in particular ERC, Marie Curie, Infrastructures and Research for SMEs grants.
She has worked for the Dutch government and the Dutch University Association and she has worked as an expert in several committees and working groups of the European Commission.