British researchers receive most from EU

Nieuws | de redactie
23 januari 2013 | British, German, French, Dutch and Italian researchers get the biggest slice of the cake from the European Research Council. In total € 680 million is divided among 302 top researchers, leading to breakthroughs in, for instance, quantum computing.

The European Research Council (ERC) grants target top researchers of any nationality who are based in, or willing to move to Europe. In this call, the selected candidates hold 32 different nationalities, conducting their research projects in over 160 institutions across 24 different European countries.

Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-
Quinn said: “Promoting frontier research at the highest level is vital for
Europe’s competitiveness, and this is why we have proposed to increase
the ERC budget as part of our Horizon 2020 programme.”

ERC President Professor Helga Nowotny commented:  “This funding gives
new impetus to frontier research, and will also allow these scientists to build
their own teams. Advanced Grantees on average employ seven team members. Overall, estimates show that by the end of 2013 the ERC will have provided support to more than 15,000 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers as team members. The ERC thereby helps support a new generation of top scientists in Europe.”

Adding emotion to economic modelling

The projects selected cover a wide range of topics, such as the development of new models to explain certain physical phenomena like superconductivity, assessment of the advantages and limits of quantum devices, or exploring how economic actors form and change their beliefs about their environment and about each other by adding emotional and psychological features to existing models.

As the largest countries in the EU, the UK, France and Germany host the greatest number of successful candidates. However, the Netherlands, Denmark, UK and Cyprus (of the EU countries), and Switzerland and Israel (of the countries associated with the EU research programme), host the greatest number of successful candidates in relation to population size. This reflects the high quality of the research in these countries, which generally follows  from long-term investment in research.

ERC grants 2012

Physics and engineering lead

Of the senior scientists receiving grants in this call, 11 applied from outside the European Research Area, which is an increase from the last Advanced Grant call. The majority are Europeans returning to their home countries; most were based in the United States, one in Canada and one in Lebanon. There are three Americans amongst the selected scientists moving from the US to carry out their ERC-funded research at a Host Institution in Europe. In addition, 21 of the selected researchers hold a non-European nationality, but were already based in Europe.

Just over 15% of selected researchers are women, which is a rise from last year’s 12%. The average age of the researchers to be funded is 51 years. 

In this call, 45% of selected proposals were in the ‘Physical Science and Engineering’ domain, 37% in ‘Life Sciences’, and 18% in ‘Social Sciences and Humanities’. The grantees were selected through peer review evaluation by 25 panels composed of renowned scientists from around the world.  

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