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Press release | 31-03-2020

185 scientists win European Research Council’s Advanced Grants

The 185 winners of the ERC’s annual Advanced Grants competition were announced today. They will explore their most daring and innovative ideas proposed in response to last year’s call. The new research projects, apart from strengthening Europe’s knowledge base, are expected to lead to the creation of some 1,800 new jobs for post-doctoral fellows, PhD students and other research staff.

These researchers’ work covers all fields of research. What can we learn from the evolution of flu viruses? How to block cancer cells’ ability to divide? Can tree rings still help us assess climate change? What solutions can economics bring to address violence against women? These are just some of the questions that the new grantees will investigate. See more project examples.

On this occasion, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Europe’s future depends on science and research. The crisis we face today reminds us how important it is to listen to scientific advice, and to allow the research community to help us prepare for the challenges of the future. By supporting frontier research, the EU enables our brightest scientists to push the frontiers of knowledge for the long-term benefit of all. We don’t know from where the next scientific breakthroughs may come, how they could be inspired, and what challenges lie ahead of us. That is why we have the European Research Council as a vital component of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Congratulations to all the winners of this latest call for Advanced Grants. We are counting on you!

The President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Mauro Ferrari, commented: “I am glad to announce a new round of ERC grants that will back cutting-edge, exploratory research, set to help Europe and the world to be better equipped for what the future may hold. That’s the role of blue sky research. These senior research stars will cut new ground in a broad range of fields, including the area of health. I wish them all the best in this endeavour and, at this time of crisis, let me pay tribute to the heroic and invaluable work of the scientific community as a whole.

He added: “In this grant competition, we noted a drop in number of UK-based grantees, which reflects the recent decline in applications from the UK. Collaboration is one of the biggest gifts we have in science and I am hoping for the best for our future relationship with the UK.”

This funding is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The new grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres across 20 EU Member States and associated countries with Germany (35), UK (34) and France (21) hosting most grants.

ERC competitions are open to researchers of any nationality and, in this round, scientists and scholars of 26 nationalities received funding. Following this call, 1881 applicants submitted their proposals in all fields of research. Female researchers submitted 19% of proposals and nearly 21% of grants were awarded to women.

See more statistics

List of all selected researchers (alphabetical order)
Lists of selected researchers by domain (alphabetical order)

For potential applicants

Researchers who would like to compete for an ERC Advanced Grant have from 14 May to 26 August 2020 to apply for the next round of funding. More information about the funding and applications.

Background

The ERC Advanced Grants in brief:

  • For well-established top researchers of any nationality or age, who are scientifically independent and have a recent high-level research track record and profile which identifies them as leaders in their respective field(s).
  • Based on a simple approach: 1 researcher with her or his team, 1 host institution, 1 project, 1 selection criterion: scientific excellence.
  • The host institution should be based in an EU Member State or Associated country. This can be the institution where the researcher is already working, or a new one. The host institution can be changed in the course of the project if the researcher so wishes (“portability of the grant”).
  • No consortia or co-funding are requested.
  • Funding: up to €2.5 million per grant (can exceptionally go up to €3.5 million, in case of purchase of major equipment, mobility from another continent, etc.).

About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. It offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between grantees' pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation.

To date, the ERC has funded more than 9,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. Key global research funding bodies, in the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries, have concluded special agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees' teams.

The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 January 2020 the new ERC President is Professor Mauro Ferrari. The overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 is more than €13 billion, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel is responsible.