5000th grantee celebration
16 June 2015
09:00 - 17:00
Cover image of 5000th grantee celebration

Eight years after its launch, the European Research Council (ERC) celebrated a significant milestone: the funding of its 5000th researcher. To mark this occasion, a series of events took place in Brussels.

  • Invited by the European Parliament (EP), the ERC took part in an exchange of views in the EP's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), where ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon addressed the Committee. The 5000th grantee, Dr Iva Tolić, as well as another ERC grantee, Prof. Nicola Pugno, highlighted what the ERC funding means for researchers.  Watch it here.
  • The ERC was also present with a booth in the European Parliament from 15 to 17 June (Spinelli building, Forum area, 3rd floor), where ERC-funded research was showcased.
  • In addition, a festive grant signing ceremony took place on 16 June (open to the press), with high-level speakers and ERC grantees Prof. Christian Keysers, Dr Mathew Holt, Dr Veerle Huvenne, Dr François Pachet, Prof. Nicola Pugno, Dr Iva Tolić and as well as an ERC team member Dr Stephane Ribas.

5000th grantee


The 5000th grantee, Dr Iva Tolić, is a leading Croatian cell biophysicist.

An ERC Consolidator Grant will allow her to study the forces acting on the chromosomes during cell division. Her research could be critical for the development of new therapies against cancer. Dr Tolić will carry out her project at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb.

Read the full story here

Dr Iva Tolić holds a PhD in biology from University of Zagreb in Croatia (2002) and did a PhD work in Harvard School of Public Health, USA in 1999-2001.

Before that she did graduate studies in molecular biology in Ruđer Bošković Institute. She obtained a diploma in molecular biology from the University of Zagreb in 1996. Before moving her lab to Croatia in the beginning of 2015 Dr. Tolić spent 10 years as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.

She was awarded the 2015 Young Investigators' Medal and Prize by the European Biophysical Societies Association (EBSA).
In 2014 Iva Tolić received the Order of Danica Hrvatska for science, outstanding contributions to science and its promotion in the Republic of Croatia and the world, awarded by the President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović, as well as the European Life Science Award in the category Investigator of the Year.
She was chosen by the journal Cell as one of 40 top scientists from around the world working in diverse biological fields, "40 under 40" for 2014.

Press and key facts

  • Press release: ERC celebrates 5000th top researcher funded (16/6/2015)
  • ERC Press Pack (view PDF)
  • BBC World Service radio debate with European Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas, ERC President, the 5000th grantee Iva Tolić and ERC grantee Veerle Huvenne. You can follow this debate next Monday 22 June on BBC World Service – "Discovery"
  • ERC funding activities 2007-2013, Key facts, patterns and trends (view PDF)

ERC at the European Parliament

Exchange of views


Invited by the European Parliament (EP), the ERC will take part in an exchange of views in the EP's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) at 17.00 on 16 June (JAN Building, room 4Q2), where ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon will address the Committee. The 5000th grantee, Dr Iva Tolić, as well as another ERC grantee, Prof. Nicola Pugno, will highlight what the ERC funding means for researchers. 
Watch it on
Europarl TV.

Discover ERC research projects

A few ERC researchers will present on 16 and 17 June amazing results and discoveries of their research projects.
Visit the ERC booth at the Spinelli building, Forum area, 3rd floor

Tuesday, 16 June
10.00-12.30 How mathematical models can boost human creativity by François Pachet (Université Pierre and Marie Curie, France) Researchers will show you how to use the “Flow machine”, a software using algorithms, which helps musicians or writers to compose music or write books in an easier way.
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Poppy, the first open-source 3D-printed humanoid robot by Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (INRIA, France) Come and meet Poppy, a robot that anybody can build: its body is 3D- printed and its behaviour is determined with freely available software. Users can design body parts quickly and easily, and program their robot’s behaviour themselves.
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Wednesday, 17 June 

Meteorites and the mysteries of the solar system by Vinciane Debaille (Université Libre Bruxelles, Belgium) Meteorites are rocks which have fallen on Earth from the space. Researchers study them to investigate on the formation of planets. Come and see a few samples of meteorites found in different parts of the globe.
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Disability can pioneer architectural innovation by Ann Heylighen (University of Leuven, Belgium) Take a 15-minutes guided tour in the EP building in the company of a blind person to discover how her non visual-spatial experience can help architects to design more inclusive buildings.
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