Women researchers gain ground in €655 million ERC frontier research competition

A total of €655 million will be awarded to 327 laureates of the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants competition. As part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, the grants will help mid-career researchers consolidate their own teams and carry out innovative projects across all scientific disciplines: from making patent-free equivalents to existing medicines, understanding how collective memories and legacies of historic empires are created, to uncovering the molecular cause for some mammal’s long pregnancies. Overall, the success rate for researchers applying for funding was about 13%. For women applicants the rate was 14.5%, while for men it was 12.6%. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Congratulations to all this year’s ERC Consolidator Grant laureates – all selected solely based on excellence. While there is still progress to be made worldwide in achieving gender balance, I am pleased to note that there is an upward trend in women applying for this ERC scheme. We can also see that in this ERC competition the proportion of female applicants who were successful is the highest ever achieved – higher than that of male applicants.” The ERC grantees are a diverse group comprising 39 different nationalities that will be based in 23 countries across Europe. The funding is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions. ERC Consolidator Grants support individual excellent researchers who are building on their existing research team or programme. The grants are up to €2 million for 5 years with possible additional funding up to €1 million. More information is available in this ERC press release