How drug-resistant bacteria can be made sensitive to antibiotics again? Is your home really such a safe investment? Can there be a more efficient way to study the most abundant element on Earth - oxygen? These are just some examples of the challenges at the frontiers of knowledge that the new grantees of the European Research Council (ERC) are going to take on.
The ERC has announced today the awarding of the Consolidator Grants that go to 329 top researchers across Europe. The funding, part of the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth in total €630 million and will give them a chance to have far-reaching impact on science and beyond.
On this occasion, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The Horizon 2020 programme will be funding 329 new ERC grants with 630 million euro to boost the EU's scientific excellence and competitiveness. Such grants contribute to increasing the EU's attractiveness as a place for research and innovation. I'm also pleased to see that the share of grants attributed to women researchers is growing in ERC competitions. We still have much to do, but it has always been my ambition to deploy all efforts possible to achieve gender equality in the realm of research and innovation."
The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: "On behalf of the Scientific Council, I'd like to congratulate the new ERC grant winners. I also express my gratitude to the over 3,000 top scientists and scholars for their pain-staking work, evaluating and identifying the most ambitious proposals submitted to the ERC. The funding will encourage these mid-career scientists to explore further the unknown and develop their most daring ideas at their own initiative. By leaving them freedom, the ERC is enabling breakthroughs. This conditions the capacity of Europe to respond to a number of challenges and to improve the lives of its citizens if the appropriate policies are adopted."
The grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 22 different countries across Europe, with as leading locations the United Kingdom (60 grants), Germany (56), France (38) and the Netherlands (25). In this competition, researchers of 39 nationalities received funding, amongst them are notably Germans (55 grants), Italians (33), French (32) and Britons (31). 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 more examples)
The ERC has evaluated 2,538 research proposals this time, out of which 13% will be funded. Thirty-two percent of grants were awarded to female applicants. The grants will create an estimated 2,000 jobs for postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in the grantees' research teams. (See more statistics)
Lists of selected researchers by domain (in alphabetical order):
- Physical Sciences and Engineering
- Life Sciences
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Statistics - Consolidator Grants 2017
The ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with at least seven and up to twelve years of experience after PhD, and a scientific track record showing great promise. Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries. The funding (maximum of €2 million per grant), is provided for up to five years and mostly covers the employment of researchers and other staff to consolidate the grantees' teams.
About the ERC
The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC has three core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants and Advanced Grants. An additional funding scheme, Synergy Grants, was re-launched in 2017.
To date, the ERC has funded over 7,500 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and more than 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC has an annual budget of €1.8 billion for the year 2017, which is around 1% of overall spending on research in Europe. With a budget of over €13 billion for the years 2014 to 2020, the ERC is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner Carlos Moedas is responsible. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council, chaired by the ERC President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, since January 2014.