EU grants €621 million for early-career scientists in order to conduct pioneering research

Today the European Commission has announced the results of this year’s competition for the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants,which are part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. The grants, worth in total €621 million, have been awarded to 408 early-career scientists to help them build their own teams and conduct pioneering research in a variety of disciplines, at the same time as creating  an estimated 2,500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff. The research will cover different topics, including studying how forest foods could provide solutions to world hunger; assessing the intensity, frequency and distribution of extreme sea levels in Europe; investigating how technology companies promote their products and seek consumers’ trust; or unravelling the survival skills of single cell organisms. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Researchers need freedom and support to follow their scientific curiosity if we are to find answers to the most difficult challenges of our age and our future. This is the strength of the grants that the EU provides through the European Research Council: an opportunity for outstanding scientists to pursue their most daring ideas.” More information is available in the ERC press release. ERC Starting Grants are awarded to early-career researchers of any nationality with two to seven years of experience since completion of their PhD (or equivalent degree) and a strong scientific track record. Calls for proposals are published once a year for each scheme.