Ca' Foscari University of Venice won two ERC Starting Grants as a host institution specifically chosen by the researchers for the first time, with a total fund of about 3 million euros.
The winners are the economist Enrica De Cian and the literature and christian thought researcher Emiliano Fiori, who will become associate professors at Ca' Foscari, within the Brain Gain agenda.
The European Research Council, the European Commission agency for research, published the results of the 2017 selection yesterday, establishing which of the 3,085 applying projects evaluated by an independent international commission of experts.
In this European research competition 406 projects supported by researchers of 48 different citizenships received a total investment of 605 million euros.
In Italy 19 project have been financed, including the two at Ca' Foscari.
The rector of Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Michele Bugliesi, declared: "Ca' Foscari has now reached an important milestone in the Brain Gain programme aiming at attracting the best researchers to Ca' Foscari. We are happy to welcome Enrica De Cian and Emiliano Fiori, the two young winners of the ERC starting grant who will develop their research at Ca' Foscari. It is a great outcome, the result of the internationalization pursued in the last years and a team work that enabled us to be more attractive, prepared and efficient supporting the participation of research projects in such prestigious international competitions".
On this occasion, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Top talent needs good conditions at the right time to thrive. The EU provides the best possible conditions at the early stages of a researcher's career through the ERC Starting Grants. That's why this funding is so crucial for the future of Europe as science hub: it keeps and attracts young talent. This time the ERC attracted researchers of 48 different nationalities based in 23 European countries. It's an investment that will pay off, boosting the EU's growth and innovation".
The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: "I'm delighted that the 2017 ERC Starting Grant call has attracted more women researchers than ever. Even better, four out of ten of the grant winners are women - also a record since the ERC's launch. I hope the persistent work of the ERC Scientific Council and its Working Group on Gender Balance has contributed to this positive evolution. I am confident that this bodes well for the future of science in Europe - we need to capitalise on all talent available".
Energy to adapt to the climate
Enrica De Cian won the ERC Starting Grant 2017 with the ENERGYA - Energy use for Adaptation project. This project will explore how our energy needs may evolve in the future facing climate changes, in particular the increase in average temperatures and in extreme events. Furthermore it will evaluate the implications of the energy needs on revenues and inequalities.
Recent climate changes will be investigated as well as future climate scenario and data on climate, economics, society will be elaborated. The research will have a global reach and will focus on emerging countries which are facing a challenge with much unknown: India, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. Enrica De Cian will carry her project leading a team of six international researchers and experts.
Currently Enrica De Cian is a researcher at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) and the Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation (FEEM). She published more than thirty scientific articles on climate change including economic models, mitigation scenarios and policy evaluations.
In 2011 she was a 'Marie Curie' fellow at Boston University. She participated to more than 10 European projects. She will become an associate professor at the Department of Economics at Ca' Foscari where she graduated and became a PhD in Economics and Organizations in 2008.
The origins of the Middle Eastern interreligious polemic
Emiliano Fiori won an ERC-Starting Grant with the project FLOS - Florilegia Syriaca. The Intercultural Dissemination of Greek Christian Thought in Syriac and Arabic in the First Millennium CE.
Between the eighth and the tenth centuries, Christians in Mesopotamia who talked and wrote in an aramaic dialect, Syriac language, had to face an intellectual confrontation with Islam in the Muslim caliphate. On the one hand they referred to Greek Christian texts translated in Syriac, the Florilegia, to preserve and reconfigure Christian thought in the past centuries; on the other they started writing in Arabic as well to debate with Muslim intellectuals but also with other Christians churches and faiths.
FLOS will study the Syriac Florilegia for the first time as they were brought to us in old manuscripts from the first millennium, and will investigate how the analysis of Greek Christian thought found in these texts have decisively influenced the content of the interconfessional and interreligious polemic in the first centuries of Islam in the Middle East.
After graduating in Christian History at the University of Padua, Emiliano Fiori obtained his doctorate degree at the University of Bologna and the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris (2010). He was awarded the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise by the University of Heidelberg in 2011 for his thesis. He then got two post-doc fellowships at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, and was invited as a researcher at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The main focus of his research is the transformation of the theological and philosophical knowledge in Greek and aramaic in Mesopotamia during the first millennium - a still lively body of intellectual traditions still little explored. In this field he published over thirty articles.