The Weizmann Institute of Science is ranked seventh in Europe – and first in Israel – for the total number of research grants obtained from the European Research Council (ERC), for the years 2007-2019. In fact, if the small size of the Weizmann Institute of Science were taken into consideration – compared to the large Institutes with numerous research groups – its ranking would be even higher.
The ERC hands out billions of euros in scientific research grants every year, and has thus far funded over 10,000 projects led by researchers in 34 countries. It is the major supporter for the kind of basic scientific research practiced at the Weizmann Institute of Science: groundbreaking, high-risk/high gain research that is based, first and foremost, on the excellence of its researchers. The Weizmann Institute of Science is highly successful in obtaining these grants, which are extremely competitive.
The ERC offers several types of grants including Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy grants. The Starting and Consolidator are meant for researchers in the early stages of their careers, the Advanced grants go to outstanding established researchers to help expand the frontiers of human knowledge, while the Synergy grants are meant to support small cross-disciplinary groups who aim to share their knowledge in order to undertake ambitious research projects.
Our success in this arena for many years is one of the contributing factors to the outstanding research accomplishments at the Weizmann Institute of Science
The Weizmann Institute’s success rate is above the average in all these categories – and well above average in three out of four. In the first two, both meant for early-stage researchers, the average for the Institute is around 50% – that is, one of every two proposals receives funding.
A mid-term analysis of the Institute’s performance in ERC under the current EU Framework Program ”Horizon 2020” (which began in 2014) puts the Institute at 51% for Starting grants and 54% for Consolidator grants, compared to 13% and 14%, respectively, across Europe. Furthermore, the Institute has maintained a success rate of 50% in the Synergy grants -- in contrast with 11% for Europe. Of 288 proposals for this grant submitted in 2019, only 38 were accepted in total. In the Advanced grants category, the Institute is above average as well, obtaining 18% in contrast with 11% for Europe.
“Our success in this arena for many years is one of the contributing factors to the outstanding research accomplishments at the Weizmann Institute of Science,” says Institute President Prof. Alon Chen. “Our high success rate in the categories for young researchers is especially encouraging, and it points to a promising future for the Institute.”