How will climate change shape the Earth’s surface? What are the long-term health effects of food additives? How can online tools change political advocacy and what does this mean for democracy? These are just some of the questions that researchers from around Europe have proposed to explore, and will now be able to, thanks to newly-awarded EU funding.
Last December 10th the European Research Council announced the winners of its latest Consolidator Grant competition: 301 top scientists and scholars across Europe. Funding for these researchers, part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth in total €600 million. With this support, the new grantees will have a chance to build up their teams and have far-reaching impact.
On this occasion, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: "Knowledge developed in these new projects will allow us to understand the challenges we face at a more fundamental level, and may provide us with breakthroughs and innovations that we haven’t even imagined. The EU’s investment in frontier research is an investment in our future, which is why it is so important that we reach an agreement on an ambitious Horizon Europe budget for the next multiannual budget. More available research funding would also allow us to create more opportunities everywhere in the EU - excellence should not be a question of geography."
ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, whose mandate ends on 31 December after six years in office, commented: “I have had the immense privilege of seeing thousands of bright minds across our continent receive the trust and backing to go after their most daring ideas. It has been an exhilarating experience through countless meetings with many of them in person, listening to their stories and being inspired by them. As it’s about top frontier research, it comes as no surprise that an overwhelming number of them already made breakthroughs that will continue to contribute greatly to meeting the challenges ahead. As I bid farewell to an organisation that will always remain close to my heart, I am once more highly impressed when I see this latest set of grantees funded by the European Research Council. That the ERC empowers them makes me proud to be European!”
The grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 24 different countries across Europe, with Germany (52 grants), the United Kingdom (50), France (43) and the Netherlands (32) as leading locations. In this competition, researchers of 37 nationalities received funding, amongst them are notably Germans (55 grants), French (33), Dutch (28) and Italians (23). The research projects proposed by the new grantees cover a wide range of topics in physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, as well as social sciences and humanities (see project examples).
The ERC received 2,453 research proposals this time, out of which approximately 12% will be funded. Thirty-one percent of grants were awarded to female applicants. This new round of grants should create some 2,000 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff working in the grantees' research team.
(ERC press release)