ERC Stories

  • Supporting the excellence in the study of human past

    August 2015
    Supporting the excellence in the study of human past
     August 2015

    Here we are briefly presenting five ERC grantees and their historical research. They employ innovative methods to sheds new light on the past facts, and they are making history relevant to our present.
    On 23-29 August 2015 the ERC took part in the International Congress of Historical Sciences in Jinan, China. Dubbed the Olympics of Historical Sciences, the congress is held every five years and is considered the most important event for researchers of human past.

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  • Ancient manuscripts in Ethiopia: preserving an historical and cultural heritage

    August 2015
    Ancient manuscripts in Ethiopia: preserving an historical and cultural heritage
     August 2015

    Ethiopia has the most ancient tradition of written culture in sub-Saharan Africa. Until today old monasteries and churches, scattered all over the country, hold thousands of precious manuscripts. Yet, for most part, these cultural treasures are stored in precarious conditions. Prof. Denis Nosnitsin intends to preserve and study this rich heritage that soon could be lost forever.

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  • When Europeans met Native Americans: cross-cultural transfer in the New World

    August 2015
    When Europeans met Native Americans: cross-cultural transfer in the New World
     August 2015

    The discovery, conquest, and subsequent colonization of the Americas gave rise to surprising, multifaceted encounters between the Old and New Worlds. These encounters were not limited to the first-contact phase or to the military subjugation of new lands by the Europeans. They have been long processes of cross-cultural communication—in which both sides participated equally—that continued to develop through the colonial and postcolonial eras up to the present day.

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  • China and the Historical Sociology of Empire

    August 2015
    China and the Historical Sociology of Empire
     August 2015

    How can we explain the continuity of Chinese empires? Dr Hilde De Weerdt with her project "Chinese Empire" revisits this big question in world history.

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  • Argentina's haunted collective memory

    August 2015
    Argentina's haunted collective memory
     August 2015

    During the military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983) around 30,000 people, mostly political dissidents, were kidnapped, tortured, killed and made to disappear. ERC grantee Kirsten Mahlke analyzed the haunting effect on Argentinian society of this mass forced disappearance as well as how it is presented in contemporary literature.

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  • ‘Frontier’ research: politics and environment in South Asia

    August 2015
    ‘Frontier’ research: politics and environment in South Asia
     August 2015

    “The next war will be fought over water, not politics,” predicted United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1991. But environmental changes and pressures also have impacts that – though just as important – may be slower and more difficult to spot.

    Pictures © Sunil Amrith

    ‘Frontier’ research: politics and environment in South Asia

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  • Investigating new practices of citizenship

    July 2015
    Investigating new practices of citizenship
     July 2015

    Recent years have seen the emergence of new forms of political engagement, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movements in different countries, from online campaigning to community organising. With the support of the ERC, Prof. Engin Isin has led research to explore how different traditions and practices of citizenship from throughout the world are changing the way we think of political participation and activity in Europe.
    Image © Engin Isin

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  • Conflicted consumers: anxiety and food decisions

    June 2015
    Conflicted consumers: anxiety and food decisions
     June 2015

    Surveys such as the 2010 Eurobarometer show that people around Europe are worried about what they eat and where it comes from. But what causes this? And does it affect behaviour? An ERC project studied consumer choices about shopping, cooking and eating – offering a more accurate picture of what shapes their decisions. The results could lead to better-informed policies on health, sustainability and business.
    © www.istockphoto.com

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  • Into the Deep

    June 2015
    Into the Deep
     June 2015

    Submarine canyons are counted among the richest ecosystems in the deep sea. These steep-sided valleys cutting into the sea floor offer a wealthy environment for diverse range of species, yet, they also host fragile habitats increasingly affected by human activities. Dr Veerle Huvenne, one of Europe's leading scientists in the fields of cold-water coral research and habitat mapping, wants to further understand these deep-sea terrains and the biological species they are hosting. With her ERC grant, she has set up a multidisciplinary research group and she is now about to explore the depths of the Whittard Canyon, in the Bay of Biscay.
    © National Oceanography Centre, UK

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  • The driving forces of cell division

    June 2015
    The driving forces of cell division
     June 2015

    With her ERC grant, the 5000th awarded to a leading scientist in Europe, Dr Iva Tolić wants to push forward the frontiers of knowledge on the mechanical principles of cell division.  To reach her goal, after spending several years in the USA, Denmark, Italy and Germany, she has moved back to Croatia where she is setting her new research team. The results of her ERC-funded project could lead to new insight in cell and molecular biology, potentially opening novel ways to treat cancer.
    Image: Microtubules in action during chromosome division © Iva Tolić

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