The European Union has set aside a substantial budget in the form of European Research Council grants to support individual outstanding researchers pursuing ground-breaking research. These grants can be seen as the European equivalent of the Dutch Innovation Research Incentive Schemes administered by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).
The ERC Starting Grant (€1.5 million) is allocated for five years to promising researchers who have proven that they have the potential to become independent leaders of research. For mid-career researchers, there is the ERC Consolidator Grant (€2 million, over five years). The ERC Advanced Grant (€2.5 million) is a five-year grant allocated to researchers whose ground-breaking work opens up new directions in their field.