Four hundred and eight early-career researchers have been awarded European Research Council grants in this year’s first completed ERC call for proposals. The highly-coveted funding will help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research across all disciplines. The grants, worth in total €621 million, are part of the EU’ Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “To answer the most difficult challenges of our age, researchers need the freedom and conditions to follow their curiosity. This is what the EU provides via the European Research Council grants: an opportunity for outstanding scientists to pursue their most daring ideas.”
President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: “Science breaks down borders. With researchers of 51 nationalities, the outcome of this call marks a record high in ERC competitions. It also reminds us that talent is everywhere to be found and it is essential that the EU keeps attracting and funding outstanding researchers from all over the world. It is with great pride that the ERC contributes to this challenge.”
The successful candidates’ research covers a diverse range of topics, including studying how forest foods could provide a solution to world hunger; assessing the intensity, frequency, and distribution of extreme sea levels in Europe; investigating how tech companies sell their products and seek consumers’ trust, or unraveling the survival skills of single cell organisms . See all nine examples of the research selected for funding in Croatia, Finland, France, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the UK.
The results of this grant competition show a greater diversity of nationalities than ever before: researchers are from 51 different countries of origin across the world, from as far afield as Taiwan and Cuba. 20 researchers will move to Europe from outside the EU and associated countries to conduct new research. The ERC-funded research will be carried out in 24 countries, with institutions from Germany (73), the UK (64) and the Netherlands (53) to host the highest number of projects. Some 13% of applications were selected for funding this time.
These Starting Grants will help the selected scientists build their own research teams, creating an estimated 2,500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions.
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