ERS Project Support

  Graphical illustration of the ERS Process as described below  

ERS funded projects are initiated through two approaches. In the open calls, researchers can submit proposals for funding for projects from all RWTH research areas. These projects should aim at identifying and developing new interdisciplinary fields of research.

The topic-specific calls are for funding projects in fields of research which serve to further develop strategically important research focuses at RWTH. As a result, profiile areas of the university that have already been established are further defined and expanded. The Planning and Allocation Committee, PAC for short, is involved in the selection of topic-specific calls. Topics for topic-specific calls can be proposed to ERS at any time.

Calls are published at least eight weeks before the submission deadline in an email to all RWTH professors and on the ERS website.


Funding from Seed Fund

Seed funding helps researchers pursue new ideas in an interdisciplinary team. The objective is to enable initial publications on the topic and the acquisition of external funding. Projects run for an average of six to twelve months. For ERS projects carried out in collaboration with strategic partners, for example within JARA, partners are expected to provide matching funds.

A special form of seed funding is provided through the RWTH Start-Up program. Project-related start-up funding of up to 20,000 euros supports postdocs in achieveing academic independence and building their research profile. Researchers may benefit from the program for up to two years. An exception applies to medical reseachers and psychologists, who may receive support for up to four years.

The RWTH Start-Up program must be distinguished from the so-called Entrepreneurship Startup grants, which are targeted at spin-off companies from the University.

Calls are generally published every year. Proposals are submitted via the ERS portal. All proposals that fulfill the formal requirements go through a defined selection process. At the end of the process the ERS selection committee composes a list of nominees to be confirmed by the Rector's Office.

237 projects have been funded thus far with a total volume of 9.1 million euros.


Funding from Prep Fund

ERS Prep funds aim to enable researchers to overcome existing hurdles or limitations such as scientific challenges or technical difficulties for achieving mid- to long-term strategic research goals. Prep Funds can vary in size and duration according to the needs of the specific project. Prep Funds are awarded competitively following periodic calls. The criteria are (i) identification of a gap in an area of high strategic importance, (ii) definition of project goals to close this gap, (iii) description of tangible deliverables.