How can researchers get their results to the market? Last week, nine top researchers, all winners of the top-up grants ERC Proof of Concept, were trained and then invited to present their ideas to investors in three-minute long “elevator pitches” organised by Science|Business. The projects covered a broad range of technologies, from 3D printing tools for nanostructures, to enzymes able to recognise nucleotide sequences in RNA molecules. Also taking part in the debate were Robert-Jan Smits, R&I Director-General at the European Commission, and Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, ERC President, amongst others.
ERC in the Press
Researchers from the University of Glasgow have unveiled the structure of an illegal trafficking network of antiquities from ancient Cambodian archaeological sites. In the first ever empirical study of statue trafficking, the team led by ERC StG 2011 grantee Simon Mackenzie, discovered that only three to four mediators are separating the looters from legitimate collectors (art galleries and museums). The objective of the project is to examine the chain from the antiquity theft to its public sale on a global scale. The news was also covered by Phys.org.
Scientists from Durham University, led by ERC Advanced grantee 2010 Prof. Carlos Frenk, are one step away from cracking the mystery of dark matter. Thanks to a new supercomputer, they have developed simulations showing for the first time the evolution of our “local Universe” from the Big Bang to the present day. The study has revealed that galaxies have emerged from clumps of dark matter which managed to trap and keep intergalactic gas inside. According to Prof. Frenk, 'understanding how galaxies formed holds the key to the dark matter mystery.'
In an interview with TV science magazine Arte Future, ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon expresses his concerns about how to support a new generation of researchers in Europe. In the first video, he speaks in particular about the EU’s instable research environment which does not allow young scientists to fully devote to their career. Also speaking about the difficulties of EU countries to reach the 3% investment objective in research that was originally set by the Lisbon Treaty (second video), he suggests that countries with weak participation could use EU Structural Funds to fund research and increase their overall performance.
Interviewed by a Spanish contemporary culture magazine Jot down, Pablo Artal reports on the Spanish research environment, his career and research in visual, adaptive and biomedical optics. Amongst other things, he explains that his motivation to apply for an ERC Advanced Grant 2013 came as a necessity – considering that the Spanish private sector seriously cut its research funding. His ERC grant was therefore an alternative support for him to continue investigating on laser techniques to correct cataracts.