Through the European Research Council (ERC) the EU funds ‘blue sky’-research. The new ‘Proof of Concept’-grant (total €10 million) stimulates researchers to bring their ideas to the market. One of the grantees is Prof. Catherine Picart (Grenoble Institute of Technology) who has developed new biomaterials permissive for the engineering of musculo-skeletal tissues and for guiding tissue regeneration.
The grant will now allow Prof. Picart to test the pre-clinical efficacy of these newly generated biomaterials as well as their ability to deliver bioactive proteins. These proteins, such as the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) are known to stimulate bone growth.
Research making money
Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “We need to bring more of our best ideas to the market in Europe. This initiative helps ERC grant holders to realize the potential of their breakthroughs and discoveries. Through these grants and by funding ‘blue sky’ research in general, the ERC is helping make Europe more competitive now and for the future.”
The projects rewarded, cover a wide range of topics, such as innovative drug therapies and new biomaterials, greener and cheaper industrial chemical substances, as well as a more inclusive approach for building accessibility.
No more ‘Proof of Concept’ after 2013?
The ERC, which is the newest component of the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme, has a total budget of €7.5 billion from 2007 to 2013. The future funding for the ERC however is unclear, since the Research budget for the next 7 year-period depends on the broader European budget negotiations. The outlook for the European research budget is far from great.
A complete list of the researchers rewarded a ‘Proof of Concept’-grant can be found here.