30 Nov 2017   |   News

UK once more tops the list as ERC awards €630M in consolidator grants

There are more signs of the strain on funding as European Research Council backs 13% of the 2,538 research proposals submitted for evaluation

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded €630 million in Consolidator Grants to over 300 top researchers from across Europe, with the biggest share once more going to UK institutions, which won 60 grants. Germany was second with 56, France next with 38 and the Netherlands fourth with 25.

 The grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 22 countries across Europe.

ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to researchers with at least seven and up to 12 years of experience after their PhDs, and a scientific track record that shows promise.

"The funding will encourage these mid-career scientists to explore further the unknown and develop their most daring ideas,” said Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president of the ERC

The funding, which is part of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme and will give the researchers a chance to have far-reaching impact on science and innovation said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for research, science and innovation. The grants will "boost the EU's scientific excellence and competitiveness,” he said.

The ERC evaluated 2,538 research proposals, of which 13 per cent will be funded. The grants will create an estimated 2,000 jobs for postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in the grantees' research teams.

The European Commission wants to see gender equality in research and innovation and thirty-two percent of grants were awarded to female applicants,. “I'm also pleased to see that the share of grants attributed to women researchers is growing in ERC competitions,” said Moedas.

The new grantees will tackle a broad range of research including antibiotic resistant bacteria, mechanisms of collective decision-making in a society or forensic practices across Europe.