European research funding programmes: The ANR’s actions to improve French participation

European research and innovation framework programmes, such as Horizon Europe, provide unique funding opportunities for France and its research teams. That is why the Ministry of Higher Education and Research rolled out a National Action Plan to improve French participation in these programmes: the PAPFE. An overview of the actions proposed by the French National Research Agency (ANR) within the framework of this plan, with two schemes created in 2022.

The ANR proposes 4 funding instruments that are part of the implementation of the PAPFE, to support the participation of French research teams.

The Tremplin-ERC (T-ERC) programme

Created in 2016, Tremplin-ERC aims to support young researchers in submitting a new application to the European Research Council (ERC)’s “Starting Grants” or “Consolidator Grants” call, with the best chances of success. It is opened to all scientific disciplines.
This programme is addressed to applicants attached to a French research and knowledge dissemination institution, whose project submitted to the previous ERC call was ranked A during the second stage of the evaluation process. Since the 2022 edition, the aid granted per project may reach €113k over 24 months.

Since its creation, Tremplin-ERC has supported around 160 projects, for a total ANR funding of more than €20 M1. The ERC success rate is 33% for applications supported by the ANR through Tremplin ERC, versus 20% for applications without T-ERC support, which underlines the importance of this scheme.

The projects selected are in Ile-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 61% of Tremplin-ERC-supported projects fall into the “Physical Sciences and Engineering” ERC category, 30% in “Biology and Health”, and 8% in “Social Sciences and Humanities - SSH”. To strengthen the participation of French teams in SSH, the ANR included a new dedicated funding instrument in its 2022 Work Programme.

Access-ERC: an SSH experimental pilot scheme

Created in 2022, this new instrument will support the hosting of young post-docs in a laboratory, one to four years after completing their PhD, regardless of their nationality, seeking better international visibility and apply to the ERC’s “Starting Grants” programme. Within the framework of a 2022 experimental phase, the first Access-ERC call will exclusively apply to SSH. The feedback from experience provided by the ANR will then help extend this new instrument to other disciplines.

The MRSEI programme to support the development of research networks

Created in 2015, the “Setting Up European or International Scientific Networks” (MRSEI) instrument helps scientists attached to a French research organisation to develop and coordinate a network, and to submit a project to a large-scale European or International call. It thus aims to strengthen France’s scientific position by coordinating a European or International research network. It is opened to all scientific disciplines.

The aid granted is €30,000 maximum for 24 months. It provides funding for actions to increase the participation of new network members, and a provision of services of €10k maximum to assist in setting up and drafting the European or International project.

Around 360 MRSEI projects have been supported since 2015, for a total ANR funding of €10 M1. The breakdown of projects selected by scientific field, in MRSEI calls, is quite balanced. The projects supported are in Ile-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Occitania.

Since 2015, the selection rate of projects submitted to the ANR’s MRSEI call has been rising to an average 48%.

The success rate in a European or International call for MRSEI projects supported by the ANR (2015 to 2017 editions) is 24%2. In 2022, the ANR suggested an additional evaluation session, i.e., 4 sessions per year, to help respond to a European or International call.

SRSEI: a new instrument to support existing scientific networks

Created in 2022, as a complement to the MRSEI scheme, the SRSEI programme aims to support the application of research networks already established and coordinated by a French partner, to a European or International call in two or three stages. It is specifically addressed to coordinators working in a French public laboratory, whose project was selected during the first or second stage of such a call.

The call is continuously open and covers all research themes. Applications must be submitted within a maximum of 15 calendar days following the result of stage 1 or 2 of the European or International call, because the period between the two or three stages of this call is often short.

The aid granted is a maximum of €17,000 for 12 months, to fund business meetings between network members and a provision of service (up to €10,000 maximum).
Thus far, 7 health research projects have been supported since the launch of this programme in May 2022, for a submission to a European or International call on 6 September 2022.

In addition to these schemes, the ANR is taking part in specific multilateral calls, and sets up dedicated calls for proposals within the framework of specific bilateral collaborations for the French State, contributing to help French team take part in European or International calls.

For more information:

2022 Tremplin-ERC programme

2022 MRSEI call for proposals

2022 SRSEI programme

News. Launch of a new programme to support European or International Scientific Networks (SRSEI)


1 Data as of 13 July 2022, regarding projects under contract
2 On the basis of the statements of the MRSEI coordinators contacted. The lack of response is considered as a non-selection of the project submitted to the European or International call targeted.

Last updated on 22 August 2022
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