Extensions of eligibility period

Military Service

Q. If the PhD was granted before a military service, in which a year or so the researcher did not practice research at all- can that time be reduced from the time of the PhD?


A. Disclaimer: If an applicant does decide to submit a proposal and the question of eligibility is not clear cut, an official Eligibility Committee will be convened to discuss the case and make a final decision.


Regarding the question on military service, the ERC Work Programme 2015 states on page 16, Section 'Eligibility criteria': ‘Eligible Principal Investigator’ that indicates: For long-term illness (Over ninety days), clinical training or national service the effective elapsed time since the award of the first PhD will be considered reduced by the actual amount of leave taken for each incident which occurred after the PhD award.'
Please note that any national service since the time of the award of the PhD can be used to reduce the effective elapsed time since the award of the first PhD – it should be properly documented (total number of days taken and the exact dates) and the relevant document(s) submitted at the time of the proposal submission.  

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Unofficial Paternity leave

Q. what kind of info should be included in a letter conforming the leave of researcher who can’t provide specific dates from Human Resources?


A. For paternity leave, an official testimonial from the PI’s employer/ institution specifying the number of days of absence due to his paternity should be uploaded when applying.

Please note that to be acceptable, this testimonial/certificate needs to be issued by the person having been empowered within his organization to certify the actual amount of paternity leave taken (i.e. an authorised officer from the HR department etc.). The letter can mention the words "paternity leave" or it can describe that it was leave taken due to birth of a child. The total number of days taken, and the exact dates need to be specified (it is ok if the time off was given in different bits over several months). The request for an extension of the eligibility window should be reported in the Administrative form Section 5 ‘’Call-specific questions’.

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Maternity leave

Q. What is an official document certifying a maternity leave and where can the applicant obtain such a document?

A. In order to justify an extension due to maternity, applicants should upload official birth certificates, family books, identity cards, HR or Health insurance certificates proving that the applicant was on maternity leave, etc. Please note that the name of the child and his/her parenting link with the mother should be indicated.

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Maternity leave in birth of twins

Q. accourding to the work program, extensions to the eligibility period may be allowed in case of eligible career breaks which must be properly documented.

Eligible career breaks can be maternity, in which the effective elapsed time since the award of the first PhD will be considered reduced by 18 months for each child born before or after the PhD award.

In case of twins, is the effective elapsed time to be multiplied?


A. Yes: for each child, a female PI is entitled to 18 month extension. In case of twins, the overall eligibility window would be extended by 36 months.

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Infertility Treatment

Q. A researcher who underwent fertility treatment for a few years after the time she received her PhD and can provide documentation from the clinics in which she was treated, to prove this. will this evidence be sufficient to reduce the effective time lapsed from the time of the PhD?


A. According to the ERC Work Programme 2014 (page 16), Section 'Eligibility criteria', ‘Eligible Principal Investigator’:

'long-term illness (over ninety days) is considered as an eligible circumstance to extend the eligibility window.'


Whether infertility treatment can be considered as a long-term illness will depend on the decision of the Eligibility Committee* who will examine the submitted documents.

However, if the applicant can document the total number of days taken and the exact dates related to her health issue that would place her within the eligibility window, then it is likely (but not certain) that her treatment would be considered as a 'long-term illness'.


Disclaimer: the analysis and final decision can only be made by the eligibility review committee after the submission of the proposal, i.e. after the call closure. At the time of proposal submission, the applicant should submit a document/documents indicating the total number of days taken and the exact dates related to her treatment. Please note that these documents are treated in the strictest confidence and are not provided to the panel.

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