60 is the new 50, according to results of the research carried out by ERC Advanced grantee Sergei Scherbov. He and his team have suggested that, thanks to a prolonged human lifespan, we are not seen as elderly until at least 70 years of age. "The meaning of 'old' has changed over time and –considering the fact that people are living longer and healthier lives – it will change further in the future," explains Prof. Scherbov.
ERC in the Press
On 12 March 2015, the ERC published the results of its 2014 call for Consolidator Grants (see ERC press release). 372 excellent mid-career researchers received funding amounting to €713 million in total, to help them pursue their best ideas.
To date, media outlets in 20 countries covered the news. For example, Journal i (Portugal) and ABC (Spain) reported on the total number of researchers awarded with funding in this call, whereas Die Welt and Focus mentioned all researchers to be funded at host institutions in Southwest Germany. Italian Il sole 24 ore compared the ERC to "the Champions' League of European research". Other media ran stories on individual grant winners. Amongst others To Vima reported on the only winner in this call to be based in Greece and Der Standard covered an Austrian researcher who will undertake his project in Ireland. El Economista published the profile of a Spanish grantee who will investigate childhood leukaemia, and Deník wrote about a Czech biologist funded to investigate on the so-called "dark matter of the genome".
Prof. Verena Lepper, who has recently been selected for an ERC Starting Grant, is fascinated by the Ancient Egypt. In her ERC project, she intends to find new ways to decipher text and scripts written on thousands-year-old papyrus, found on the island of Elephantine, near the city of Aswan. Regarding her ERC funding, she comments: "I can hire ten people with this money. It also means scientific freedom, as we can now run a primary research, which has been long overdue".
New treatments for inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and gout, could be on the way thanks to a significant discovery made by an international group of scientists, including ERC Advanced grant winner Prof. Luke O'Neill. Other media outlets also covered the news, for example RTÉ News, Irish Examiner and Irish Central.
On 5 February, the ERC published its latest ‘Proof of Concept’ grant results (see ERC press release). 59 excellent researchers received up to €150,000 each to bring their research results to the market. With the funding, they aim to develop, for example, a simple blood test to diagnose breast cancer, a forensic device to trace the origin of tropical timber, and artificial veins inspired by marine sponges.
Dozens of media outlets, such as newspapers The Irish Times (IE) and To Vima (EL), press agency Agencia SINC (ES) and online portal Nanowerk (US), highlighted funded researchers and their projects. Other publications, such as ANSA (IT), New Europe and Radio Romania Actualitati focused on the European dimension of the funding.