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Frontier Knowledge for Future Gain: Why the European Research Council Matters

Published by The British Academy

This briefing examines the critical role played by the European Research Council (ERC) in supporting the UK research base.

There are many implications, and potential scenarios, for the future of UK research, including in the humanities and social sciences, when the UK exits the EU. This briefing focuses on one part of this uncertain landscape, the European Research Council. The ERC supports frontier research and cross disciplinary proposals and encourages the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding, on the basis of scientific excellence. In the current EU Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, running from 2014-2020, of which the ERC is a central part, the ERC has a budget of € 13 billion, which is 17% of the entire Horizon 2020 budget.

Publication part of

Brexit Briefings

The British Academy’s Brexit Briefings explore the challenges and the key issues related to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU within the context of research and innovation and UK-Ireland relations. These briefings intend to raise awareness of the topics and questions that need consideration and/or responses as the UK negotiates its exit from the EU.

A programme of activities promoting the UK’s engagement with European partners and illustrating the value of the social sciences and humanities for better understanding of the potential pathways for the Europe of tomorrow.


We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.