Outstanding researchers can have a decisive and positive impact on the culture and performance of research institutions. Yet issues such as the availability of research funding, institutional rigidities and access to resources can hamper the mobility of such leaders to promising institutions, particularly in low R&I performing countries. ERA Chairs actions will address the specific challenge of creating the appropriate conditions and opportunities for high quality researchers and research managers to move and engage with willing institutions to improve the excellence of their research and thereby modify their research and innovation landscape.
The ERA Chairs actions will support universities or research organisations with the objective of attracting and maintaining high quality human resources under the direction of an outstanding researcher and research manager (the "ERA Chair holder") and in parallel implementing the structural changes necessary to achieve excellence on a sustainable basis.
The scientific field can be any domain of research and innovation addressed under the Treaty, however it needs to be closely connected with the activities of the ERA Chair holder and fully capitalise on his/her presence and expertise.
Research organisations interested in establishing an ERA Chair shall submit a proposal based on a SWOT analysis, aimed at facilitating structural change in the institution and ensuring that the conditions are in place to foster excellent research. Proposals should include arrangements for compliance with ERA priorities[[http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/era-communication_en.pdf ]] including the European Charter for Researchers & Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers[[http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/brochure_rights/am509774CEE_EN_E4.pdf]], the gender equality in research teams and decision making bodies, better use of the installed research capacity (in particular of EU co-funded research infrastructures & facilities) and/or a description of the necessary investments in facilities and infrastructures. For the latter, interactions with national or regional authorities and other stakeholders to coordinate actions and mobilise support, including, where relevant, from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) or Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds, are desirable. If relevant, any links with sustainable development objectives are to be outlined.
ERA Chair holders should be outstanding researchers and research managers in the given field of research, with a proven record of effective leadership. They should establish their own team and help the research organisation to significantly improve its research performance and to be more successful in obtaining competitive funding. The ERA Chair holder should have a position within the organisation/university, professor or similar, that will allow her/him to make appropriate resource allocation decisions, supervise team members and freely apply for research funding in order to raise the level of research excellence of the team and the institution. Proposals will need to describe clearly the roles, level of responsibility and obligations of the ERA Chair holder allowing for the determination of the feasibility of his/her tasks.
The position of the ERA Chair holder must be open to all EU and non-EU nationals. The appointment of an ERA Chair holder will be undertaken by the host institution at the beginning of the action and must follow an open, transparent and merit-based recruitment process that will be monitored by the European Commission.
It is expected that the Chair holder will commit him/herself for the full duration of the grant. In principle, the ERA Chair holder is to be appointed in a full-time position (permanent or non-permanent) in accordance with the national legislation of the institution hosting the grant but part-time arrangements might be agreed by the parts, if deemed beneficial for the action.
The grant that can have a duration of five years maximum will cover the appointment of the ERA Chair holder and a number of team members (e.g. their salaries, recruitment costs[[That can be considered under the category of "other direct costs".]], administrative costs, travel and subsistence costs).
The grant will also provide a contribution towards measures aimed at facilitating structural changes in the institution (e.g. costs for trainings, meetings, publications and managing IPR.While the action does not focus on equipment, these could be accepted if they constitute only a minor part of the total Horizon 2020 funding requested and may be deemed necessary to fulfil the action's specific scope and objective). Hence, the grant is not a measure to fund research per se and for grants awarded under this topic , the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:
- infrastructure costs;
- research costs (including consumables).
The respective option of Article 6.5.C of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 2.5 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.