EU grants €677 million to top early-career researchers

The Commission announced today that a total of €677 million will be granted to 436 laureates of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants competition. As part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, the grants will help early-career researchers build their own teams and carry out innovative projects across all scientific disciplines: from vaccine research to climate change adaptation and from nanoplastics to exploring the nature of dark matter in the Universe. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “With the European Research Council grants, the EU is leveraging the talent and curiosity of some of the best young researchers in Europe. Their ideas are set to break fresh ground and open new ways to deal with pressing challenges in the areas of health, energy and digital technologies, as well as many other fields. Our ambition to effectively tackle current and future crises depends on our strong will to continuously and increasingly support top research at the frontiers of our knowledge.” The ERC laureates are a diverse group comprising 40 different nationalities that will be based in 25 countries across Europe. Some 13% of applications were selected for funding in this highly competitive round, which is expected to create some 2,500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions. More information is available in this ERC press release. ERC Starting Grants support individual excellent researchers who are starting their own independent research team or programme. The grants are up to €1.5 million for 5 years with possible additional funding up to €1 million. Some 75% of projects funded by the ERC have resulted in scientific breakthroughs or major advances, according to impact reviews.