The European Research Council (ERC) has announced today the 302 winners of its 2015 Consolidator Grant competition. These excellent mid-career scientists are awarded a total of €585 million, as part of the European Union Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. With grants worth up to €2 million each, they will be able to consolidate their research teams and to develop their innovative ideas.
The researchers selected in this call will, for example, develop a new method to control insects transmitting diseases such as the Zika virus, build ultra-thin portable fuel cells, and investigate the effectiveness of political apologies across cultures. They are likely to employ more than 2,100 post docs, PhD students and other research team members. (Read more)
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "As part of Horizon 2020, the ERC funds the work of some of the most brilliant minds in frontier research, people whose discoveries can start new industries, new markets and contribute to the welfare of the planet."
The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: "The Consolidator grants support researchers at a crucial time of their careers, strengthening their independence and helping them establish themselves as leaders in their scientific fields. Europe needs to unequivocally put its trust in young and very engaged scientists. I'm glad to see that, compared to previous years, there are more women amongst the Consolidator grantees selected in a competition strictly based on scientific quality. I hope that this trend continues. This time the success rate of female applicants actually surpassed that of men."
The share of female grantees in this call was 31%; a further increase from the Consolidator Grant competitions in 2014 (28%) and 2013 (24%). Furthermore, female applicants were more successful than male applicants (the success rate for women was 16% and for men 14.5%). Overall, 15% of applicants in this competition were successful.
The ERC grants are targeted at top researchers of any nationality based in, or willing to move to Europe. In this call, researchers of 34 different nationalities are amongst the grantees. The highest number of grants goes to German scientists (48 grants), followed by British (32), French (30) and Italian (30). (See statistics)
Amongst the grantees, there are also some 30 researchers from outside Europe, mainly from United States, India and Canada. All grantees will conduct their research in host institutions based in the EU or associated countries. Sixty seven grantees will work in the UK, 45 in Germany, 31 in France and 26 in the Netherlands, and the remaining will be hosted in 18 other European countries.
The ERC Consolidator Grant are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with at least seven and up to 12 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.
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 also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. To date, the ERC has funded nearly 6,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers.
The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council, and, since January 2014, the ERC President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The ERC has a budget of over €13 billion for years 2014 to 2020 and is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.