Crafting a Compelling Presentation for your ERC Interview:
Strategies and Insights

Navigating the challenges of an ERC interview presentation can be daunting, particularly because of the strictly enforced time constraints that lie between 3 min – 12 min. We have observed that many candidates strive to cover every facet of their project. However, the key lies in strategically focusing on the most important elements of your project. In this article, we share our insights and recommendations to help you prepare an effective presentation.

Understanding Your Audience

Your audience will typically consist of a diverse panel of about 10-16 scientists, most of whom will not be specialists in your specific area. Normally, only 3-4 members will have thoroughly reviewed your proposal while the others will have only skimmed through it. Our advice? Tailor your presentation to resonate with the majority of the panel members. However, should time permit, adding a few technical details can be beneficial to engage the specialist members of the audience. A useful tip is also to review the panel composition from your call two years ago, as about two-thirds of the panelists are normally retained. This insight can help you estimate the expertise level and interests of your audience, allowing for a more targeted and relevant presentation as well as anticipate what kind of questions you might receive afterwards.

Crafting Your Message

There’s no magical recipe for creating an intriguing ERC presentation, but a good start is to address three critical questions: “Why this project?”, “Why now?”, and “Why me?”. Additionally, a coherent narrative is crucial. Your presentation should logically transition from a broad overview to the specific challenges and methodologies of your project. Here’s a suggested structure for an 8-12 minute presentation (modify as needed for shorter presentations):

1. Introduction: Set the stage and overall topic for your project.

2. Current Challenges/Gap of Knowledge/Big Research Question: Highlight the existing knowledge gap or what is hindering the field from advancing.

3. State of the Art (SoA): Discuss the current solutions and their limitations.

4. Project Vision: Present your envisioned solution and specific objectives.

5. Project Design: Explain your project design and how the different components interconnect

6. Methodology/Work Packages (WPs): Detail the specific activities and anticipated results for each project unit.

7. Feasibility: Indicate the practicality of your project, including any preliminary results.

8. Why Me: Make a case for your unique suitability to execute this project in terms of experience and expertise.

9. Impact: Convey the potential significance and benefits of your research to other researchers, beyond the project lifetime.


Remember, an ERC presentation is more than just sharing information; it’s about telling a story that resonates with your audience. By focusing on the key elements and presenting them in a logical, engaging manner, you can effectively communicate the significance and relevance of your research project. With these strategies in mind, you’re well on your way to crafting a presentation that stands out in the ERC interview process.

Interested in further guidance and personalised support for your ERC interview presentation? Visit to explore our comprehensive ERC interview training support designed to help you make the most of the opportunity. We will help you prepare a strategy for how to impress the reviewers, and convincingly answer their questions.

Authored collaboratively by Malte Beringer and Stewe Bekk, this publication is the first in our series on effective strategies for ERC grant preparation.

Grant Editing. YOUR EXTERNAL PRE-AWARD GRANTS OFFICE. Proposal development, scientific editing and consulting services in the life sciences