The European Research Council (ERC) launched a new funding initiative under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7): the ‘Proof of Concept’. Under this initiative, ERC grantees may now also apply for additional funding to set up, namely, an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) strategy for the results of their prior ERC project. The funds are granted at the earliest stage of innovation and therefore researchers now have the necessary support to bring their research to the market.Following the European Union’s (EU) Europe 2020 Strategy, the ERC’s aim is to reinforce scientific excellence and European research, namely through the support of dynamic and creative researchers. In this context, the ERC provides funding initiatives to support excellent researchers at the start phase of their independent team or programme (ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants) and pursuing ground breaking research (ERC Advanced Investigator Grants). With the 'Proof of Concept' initiative, researchers holding one of those grants can now also apply for more funding, up to EUR 150 000, to make their research more appellative to potential investors.The first ‘Proof of Concept’ initiative is now open to principal investigators that are currently grant holders or have been for less than 12 months.