bright minds

Stay inspired
European excellence for Lower Saxony


apply anytime
area of research: all
type of funding: support in preparing resubmission of an ERC application
eligible: Researchers at state universities in Lower Saxony in accordance with Section 2 NHG, and regional research institutions financed by state funds
The "Stay Inspired: European Excellence for Lower Saxony" program is not intended to support first-time applications for an ERC grant. Only projects that have been designated as excellent by the ERC but have not received a grant due to limited funds are eligible for funding.

what we promote

The program, which promotes the resubmission of an ERC application, is designed to support researchers from Lower Saxony in establishing themselves in the category of European research excellence. It aims to increase the attractiveness and European visibility of Lower Saxony's universities and research institutions for outstanding researchers.

Entitled are researchers who have been assessed as excellent by the European Research Council (ERC), but do not receive an ERC grant due to the limited budget. The funding enables them to further develop and enhance their project in Lower Saxony, and thus supports them in preparing resubmission of their research proposal to the ERC. The ERC evaluation on which the application is based need not to have been submitted via an institution in Lower Saxony. The decisive factor is the applicant's affiliation with one of the aforementioned institutions at the time of submitting an application for this program, for the duration of funding under this program, and at the time of the planned resubmission to the ERC.

All applications whose excellence has been confirmed by the ERC, i.e. which were rated A in the second review stage but do not receive an ERC grant, are eligible for funding. Applicants are free to apply for the next higher grant according to their career phase when resubmitting.

Moreover, and in line with promoting early career researchers, applications for a Starting Grant whose high quality has been confirmed by the ERC, i.e. which have reached the second review stage and received a B rating, are also eligible for funding. The aim of the funding in these cases is explicitly to raise the quality of the application from a high to an excellent level and thereby to support researchers in an early phase of their career.

If the resubmitted application to the ERC also fails by a narrow margin and again meets the funding requirements of the program, a new application is possible (even in a repeated case).

The "Stay Inspired: European Excellence for Lower Saxony"program is not intended to support the first-time application for an ERC grant. For this purpose, funding from the European program Lower Saxony – a strong region for research and innovation in Europe can be applied for.

How to apply

terms and conditions
Please read the "Information for Applicants" carefully and familiarize yourself with the application conditions.
prepare your application
You can find further documents for preparing your application below.
submit application
The application must be submitted to Department 15 "Europe, International Affairs" of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (see contact).
A decision on approval is usually made within four weeks after reviewing the documents submitted.


Hendrik Wessels
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur, Referat 15