The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded its Advanced Grants. These prestigious grants, awarded to individual researchers for a five-year period, are usually worth about 2.5 million euros each. Seven KU Leuven researchers are among this year's recipients: Guy Boeckxstaens, Bart De Strooper, Paul Heremans, Rony Keppens, Johan Martens, Batja Mesquita, and Valeria Pulignano.
ERC Advanced Grants may be awarded to Principal Investigators from all disciplines. To apply for an ERC Advanced Grant, applicants must be active and established researchers with an outstanding track record in the past ten years. They also have to be affiliated with a host institution in an EU member state or a so-called associated country.
All applications are assessed on the basis of one single criterion: the excellence of both the project and the researcher. The applications that pass the quality threshold are ranked on the basis of their score, and only the highest ranked proposals receive funding.
"The competitive selection process makes the achievement of our researchers all the more impressive," says Rector Luc Sels. "Their outstanding work helps to reinforce the position of KU Leuven as one of Europe's leading academic institutions. I'm also thrilled to see that we were able to secure more ERC Advanced Grants than last year. This positive trend makes me very proud of our researchers and the staff members who have supported them throughout the application process."
Professor Guy Boeckxstaens from the Translational Research in GastroIntestinal Disorders unit (TARGID) was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his project "NEUMACS: Neuron-associated macrophages in the gut as novel target for the treatment of enteric neuropathies." In 2014, Professor Boeckxstaens already received an ERC Advanced Grant for his Cholstim project.
Bart De Strooper
Professor Bart De Strooper (KU Leuven and VIB) was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his project "CELLPHASE_AD. Genetics to understand cellular components of Alzheimer Disease pathogenesis". The host institution for this ERC grant is VIB. Bart De Strooper is also the director of the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London. In 2010, Professor De Strooper already received an ERC Advanced Grant for his MIRNA_AD project.
Professor Paul Heremans from the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) and imec was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his project "Ultra-bright thin-film light emitting devices and lasers ULTRA-LUX", with imec as the host institution. In 2012, Professor Heremans already received an ERC Advanced Grant for his Epos Crystalli project. More information about his current project is available from imec.
Professor Rony Keppens from the Department of Mathematics was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his project "PROMINENT. Solar prominences: unraveling the ultimate condensation catastrophe."
Professor Johan Martens from the Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his project "WATUSO: Water Forced in Hydrophobic Nano-Confinement: Tunable Solvent System."
Professor Batja Mesquita from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for her project "Emotional Acculturation: Emotions as Gateways to Minority Inclusion."
Professor Valeria Pulignano from the Faculty of Social Sciences was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for her project "REsPecTMe Resolving Precariousness: Advancing the Theory and Measurement of Precariousness across the paid/unpaid work continuum."