Qualitative Evaluation of completed Projects funded by the European Research Council
Since its creation in 2007, the European Research Council (ERC) has become one of the leading research funders worldwide. As part of its monitoring and evaluation strategy, the ERC performs regular qualitative assessments of the research outputs from completed ERC projects. These ex-post peer-review assessments complement other approaches based on the analysis of the bibliometric information related to the projects.
After the first two previous annual exercises (in 2015 and 2016), a new qualitative assessment was implemented during 2017. In this exercise, a random sample of 223 projects was evaluated from a pool of 470 ERC-funded completed projects. As in previous years, this ex-post peer-review evaluation was undertaken by independent, high‐level international scientists, who were selected by the ERC Scientific Council. Experts who participated in the ex-ante selection of the projects for funding were excluded for this ex-post evaluation. Experts were grouped into evaluation panels aligned in their structure to those dealing with ex-ante evaluations. Each panel was composed of three to four experts; two to three of them with past experience as an ERC panel member, and one with no previous experience as ERC panel member, being neither an applicant in the last five years nor ever receiving an ERC grant.
The reviewers of the outcome from the completed ERC projects made their assessments following established guidelines. They addressed questions related to scientific impact, the introduction of new methodologies, interdisciplinarity, and societal and economic impact of each project. In addition, they were asked to provide an overall grade of projects according to the following scale: 'scientific breakthrough' (grade A), 'major scientific advance' (B), 'incremental scientific contribution' (C) and 'no appreciable scientific contribution' (D).
This report presents the outcome of the 2017 qualitative evaluation of completed ERC projects.