general the chances to be successful with an ERC or Marie Curie
application is around 10 % - the chances for myself and my colleagues
at the Max Planck Institute were 40 % or better. Why? Because our
science was excellent, we understood the system and we used an internal
pre-evaluation service. In short: we were not too shy to ask for help.
And having been an evaluator myself I was tasked with giving advise and
One of my biggest problems then (and
today) was (is) to make my colleagues (now clients) realize that a
funding application is VERY different to a scientific paper! It helped
that they knew me personally - and thus today I try to initiate a
counselling by sitting down with a potential customer and create a
personal relationship, establish trust (discretion is self-evident). Fortunately most of my clients have already a basic
understanding after attending one of my seminars.
There are several types of individual counselling:
typically for students and postdocs with no clear idea what they really
want. Roughly two weeks before the session the client sends me the
completed 2-page preparation sheets together with a CV. After some
thoughts at home I meet with the aspirant for a
consulting discussion of about 30-60 minutes. Typically this is
done as part of a seminar day - for "stand-alone" meetings the
cost is about 80 - 100 € (more if I have to travel).
typically for postdocs or junior research group leaders with a rough
idea or already rejected applications. Roughly two weeks before
the session the client sends me the completed 2-page
preparation sheets together with a CV and the complete rejected
application (DAAF, DFG, MSCA, ERC, etc). After some thoughts at
home I meet with the customer for a
consulting discussion of roughly 1 hour, most of the time
followed by an e-mail / skype exchange. Again this can be initiated as
part of a seminar day or as "stand-alone" meetings (costs roughly
"Intensive": typically for (junior) team leaders with a solid
idea and rejected or planned applications. Again, roughly two weeks
before the session the client sends me the
completed 2-page preparation sheets together with a CV, the
rejected or largely finished draft of a new application (most of
the time Marie Curie or ERC StG, CoG). After some thoughts
at home I meet with the customer for a
counseling session of roughly 1-3 hours, most of the
time followed by
an e-mail / skype exchange. This takes too much time to execute as part of
day - but please note the possibility to have "consultancy vouchers"
described elsewhere. Cost depending on complexity 200 - 300 €.
preparation of an ERC StG, Marie Curie, or DFG
scholarship application. Includes "intensive" conversation plus several
contacts by telephone and e-mail until the final submission. With
this I usually get applicants either to success or at least
into the second stage (interview) of the procedure. Only
individually, cost either by hourly rate or flat rate (usually
between 450 - 750 €).
"Coaching 2": preparation of an ERC CoG or AvH application. Includes
"intensive" conversation plus several contacts by telephone, skype or e-mail
to the final submission. With this I usually get applicants into
the 2nd stage - here are the chances 1: 3 (and the rest depends on
scientific excellence and an eventual interview). Only
individually, cost either by hourly rate or flat rate (usually between
600 - 900 €).
6. "Coaching 3": preparation of an ERC AdG
application. Contains more "intensive" discussions with the applicant
and his coworkers, plus numerous contacts by skype and e-mail
to the finished submission. With this I usually get applicants in
the 2nd stage -here the chances are 1:3 (and the rest depends on the
great idea, excellence and the whim of the subject evaluators).
individually, handled on an hourly basis, the size of costs is
between 1500 - 2500 €. It really is the supreme discipline, but
for two of my recent clients, who now receive 2.5 M €, this was well worth
7. "Interview training":
preparing a scientist (or a group of scientists) for the 12 - 15 min
interview in Brussels as part of an ERC StG or CoG application having
reached the second stage of an application. Similar in structure
to the (ministry-paid) training offered for German candidates by
KoWi (or institutions like the Max Planck Society) - but more intensive
and with follow-up contacts by skype or e-mail.
A question I encounter once in a while: am I "counselling" or "consulting"? According to the dictionaries
"counselling" means: direction or helpful suggestions regarding a decision or future course of action;
of exchanging opinions and ideas; advice or guidance, especially as
knowledgeable person; private, guarded thoughts or opinions.
means: get or ask advice from; advise
professionally; seek information; take into account;
Personally I prefer "counselling"...