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ELECTION SERIES #8
State regulation of civil society has grown consistently over the past decade, raising concerns over the eroding role of the latter in shaping democratic decision-making. The ERC-funded STATORG project has investigated this issue across several long-lived democracies, considering country-specific regulations and how these affect civil society organisations.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016. Of these, over 650 million were obese and therefore at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and some forms of cancers. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers have looked into the reasons why some people are more likely to gain weight while others manage to stay thin.
In the current ‘refugee crisis’, the legal protection of refugees represents an important challenge all over Europe. Supported by the ERC, Dr Cathryn Costello questions the current refugee regime, legal framework and current practices to open up new research and policy trajectories.
The effect social media have on political discourse has been subject of intense discussion, especially since the UK referendum and US elections in 2016. A researcher funded by the European Research Council (ERC) is trying to shed light onto the ways politicians use online social networks and the murky world of political algorithms.
What do elections mean for citizens? What happens in the voters’ mind in the polling booth? How do elections’ practical arrangements affect the voter's final choice? The results of Prof. Michael Bruter’s EU/ERC funded research could help governments and Election Management Bodies to optimise democratic processes and improve voters’ satisfaction and turnout.
When war displaces large populations, refugees and their descendants form diasporas. They are far from home and spread across countries, but many remain involved in homeland politics. In a comparative study of diasporas and contested sovereignty from the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East, EU researchers reveal how diasporas can both mitigate and aggravate conflicts.
Acetylsalicylic acid, most commonly known as aspirin, was already part of the Egyptian pharmacopeia, used also in ancient Greece and in the Middle Ages to break fevers. Taken all over the world to kill pain and reduce inflammation, today aspirin helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Its emerging role in preventing and treating cancer is on the rise too. But how does this drug act on your blood cells? ERC grantee Prof Valerie O’Donnell works on the answer.
In just a couple of years, Africa has gone from possessing a total bandwidth availability comparable to that of Norway to having almost one hundred million internet users and seven hundred million mobile users. Could this growth in access to information and communication technologies (ICT) represent an opportunity for economic development? Many have described this moment of transition as "Africa's century", ERC grantee and Oxford scholar Prof Mark Graham, a leading authority on the topic of technology and development, aims to understand this "digital revolution".
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.
Prof. Michael Schneider is a leading authority in the field of cardiac molecular biology. In 2008, he obtained an ERC grant to identify the mechanisms governing self-renewal of cardiac progenitor cells, a population of stem cells located in the heart itself that might be exploited to play a key role in regenerating this vulnerable organ in heart disease. With his team at Imperial College London, he has now identified a stem cell injection that could mend broken hearts, a discovery in the field of regenerative medicine published this week in Nature Communications.