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Starting Grants – Monitoring European Research Council’s Implementation of Excellence (MERCI)
Start date: Feb 1, 2009, End date: Sep 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project aims to develop and implement instruments for a continuous assessment of the ERC Starting Grants impact on funded researchers. The main item will be a panel study (standardized online interviews) which includes two waves and which is complemented by qualitative interviews and bibliometric studies (triangulation of methods) applied to second stage applicants. The first wave will take place at runtime of the respective projects when grantees will have made sufficient experiences under funding. The second wave will proceed at an adequate time after the end of funding (rejection of the proposal respective) to gather possible middle-term (long-term) effects. In focus are direct impacts of the Starting Grants on the grantees scientific careers, scientific merits (bibliometric analyses), motives concerning mobility, selection of and relation to the host institution, job satisfaction, soft skills and their prestige gained from being funded by the ERC. Furthermore the financial strength of the grant, the broader conditions under funding and the ERC grants in comparison to other (national) funding schemes as seen by the grantees, will be addressed. Besides personal backgrounds (family status, etc.) the grantees opinions about several aspects of EU and trans-EU research conditions and policies also will be surveyed. Qualitative interviews on a sub sample of second stage applicants are planed to gather deeper insights into specific terms not ascertainable in a standardized questionnaire.
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