408 researchers have been granted EU research funding by the European Research Council (ERC) following the council’s first call for proposals of 2019.
The EU research funding grants, which total €621m, have been issued under the Horizon 2020 programme; and are aimed at supporting scientists and researchers early in their career in building their own teams to conduct ‘pioneering’ research projects. Funding was awarded to researchers from 51 countries around the world, with research to be carried out in 24 countries; the creation of new research teams using the grants is expected to create around 2,500 new jobs for researchers, fellows and staff at host institutions.
President of the European Research Council Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon said: “Science breaks down borders. With researchers of 51 nationalities, the outcome of this call marks a record high in ERC competitions. It also reminds us that talent is everywhere to be found and it is essential that the EU keeps attracting and funding outstanding researchers from all over the world. It is with great pride that the ERC contributes to this challenge.”
Successful recipients of the EU research funding grants include:
- ‘Moving around without a brain: evolution of basal cognition in single-celled organisms (EvoMotion)’, an investigation of the complex memory processes and responses of single celled organisms, to be conducted at the UK’s University of Exeter;
- ‘The Ecology of Collective Behaviour’, which aims to examine social and collective behaviour in groups of wild birds and ways to extrapolate that data to analyse social groups of other animals, to be based at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour in Konstanz, Germany;
- ‘Reinterpreting how forests support people’s dietary quality in low income countries’, an analysis of the role of forest ecosystems in providing nutritional support, which will be hosted by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark; and
- ‘Estimating contribution of sub-hourly sea level oscillations to overall sea level extremes in changing climate’, a comprehensive assessment of the frequency, intensity and geographic distribution of rising sea levels, to be conducted out of Croatia’s Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “To answer the most difficult challenges of our age, researchers need the freedom and conditions to follow their curiosity. This is what the EU provides via the European Research Council grants: an opportunity for outstanding scientists to pursue their most daring ideas.”