Selling your “high risk-high gain” project: A testimony from acquiring ERC and FET-Open funding

PI Stories
10 February 2021
10 February 2021

Where: online on Zoom
Time: 1:30 pm

First Seminar of the PI Stories 


  • Marian Verhelst, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven 


For many researchers, the most rewarding research projects are “high risk-high gain” projects, in which true exploration can take place, and the researchers can work on larger visions, far out into the future. Yet, unfortunately, research funds for these kinds of projects are also among the most difficult ones to achieve, and the projects are among the most difficult ones to manage. On terms of grant writing, as the projects are often judged by a very interdisciplinary panel, it requires a different kind of writing style to get them accepted. In terms of projects management, they require to deal with uncertainties, interdisciplinary collaborations and long-term planning. 
In this talk, I will testify on some do’s and don’ts from my own experiences in acquiring and managing ERC and FET-Open funding, in which I failed several times, before hitting success.


Free participation upon registration online by 7 February. Register here 

About the speaker

Marian Verhelst (SM) is an associate professor at the MICAS laboratories of the EE Department of KU Leuven. Her research focuses on embedded machine learning, hardware accelerators, HW-algorithm co-design and low-power edge processing. Before that, she received a PhD from KU Leuven in 2008, was a visiting scholar at the BWRC of UC Berkeley in the summer of 2005, and worked as a research scientist at Intel Labs, Hillsboro OR from 2008 till 2011. Marian is a member of the DATE and ISSCC executive committees, is TPC co-chair of AICAS2020 and tinyML2021, and TPC member VLSI and ESSCIRC. Marian is an SSCS Distinguished Lecturer, was a member of the Young Academy of Belgium, an associate editor for TVLSI, TCAS-II and JSSC and a member of the STEM advisory committee to the Flemish Government. Marian currently holds a prestigious ERC Starting Grant from the European Union and was the laureate of the Royal Academy of Belgium in 2016.

Pi Stories. A series of seminars aimed at providing the opportunity to the PhD students to learn the success stories of some of the most talented researchers in the world. 
Each speaker will present a research project he/she led as a principal investigator. The presentation will cover the scientific scope of the project and the most important results the project achieved. The speakers will also share their own experience of turning a research idea into a successful project winning a competitive grant.
Next story on 10 March 2021: Laura Kovács, Vienna University of Technology    


application/pdfPoster PI Stories_Verhelst(PDF | 179 KB)