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New ERC Advanced Grant results: Over €660 million to 284 top researchers

In its sixth and last Advanced Grant competition under the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), the European Research Council (ERC) is awarding over €660 million to 284 senior research leaders. They will carry out their research in 18 different countries across the European Research Area1. With up to €3.5 million per grant, the prestigious funding will enable them to pursue their most ground-breaking ideas together with their teams. The next Advanced Grants call will fall under the 'excellence pillar' of the new Framework Programme 'Horizon 2020'.

The researchers selected will perform their frontier research on a wide range of topics. One project, for instance, explores the limits of life on Mars. Other projects deal with major health issues such as developing a virus to kill cancer cells, understanding the molecular mechanisms behind Alzheimer's disease, or using photonics to restore vision in patients with cataracts. Societal challenges are also addressed, such as ageing populations, and inequality in capitalist societies. (Read more about the project examples)

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "The ERC funds researchers who are at the top of their game, and we need this talent in Europe. Their creativity and hard work creates knowledge that is valuable in itself, but that often also has a positive impact on our society and economy. That is why the ERC budget will receive a major funding boost under Horizon 2020."

ERC President Professor Helga Nowotny said: With this last competition for ERC Advanced Grants of the current framework programme, it is a good moment to take stock of the past seven years. What started as an eager and long-standing demand from the research community, took shape in 2007 as the first pan-European funding body for excellent frontier research. Since the first funding rounds for outstanding talent, the ERC has grown remarkably and invigorated the entire research scene in Europe. At the backbone of its success lies its peer review evaluation system - I dare say the most international in the world. With this last round of Advanced Grants, the ERC has funded nearly 1,700 established research leaders in more than 350 Host institutions across 28 countries in Europe. In the next programme Horizon 2020, the ERC’s core funding schemes will continue thanks to the planned increased overall ERC budget.”

In this Advanced Grant competition, just over 2,400 applications were submitted to the ERC, which is a slight increase (4.5%) from last year. The overall success rate lies at nearly 12%.

The share of selected women in this round of grants is just over 13% and the average age of researchers is 53 years old. In terms of domain distribution, 45% of successful proposals were in the 'Physical Science and Engineering' domain, 36% 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.

The ERC grants target top researchers of any nationality who are based in, or willing to move to, the European Research Area (ERA). In this call, the successful candidates are of 27 different nationalities, with British, German, French, Dutch and Italian researchers being the most numerous. They are based in some 150 institutions in 18 different ERA countries. As the largest EU Member-States, the UK, Germany and France host the highest absolute number of selected researchers. However, in relation to population size, the Netherlands, UK, Finland and Denmark (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 this call. (For further information, see statistics.)

The number of researchers already holding ERC grants that are now coming to an end, and who are applying for a second grant, was larger than ever before: nearly 80 applied and around 30 were finally selected to receive an Advanced Grant.

Thanks to the ERC funding, the selected scientists in this call will be able to build research teams, engaging an estimated 1,200 postdocs and PhD students as ERC team members. The ERC thereby also contributes to supporting a new generation of top researchers in Europe.

ERC Advanced Grants call 2013:

LIST of all selected researchers by country of host institution (alphabetical order within each country group)

Lists of selected researchers by domain (in alphabetical order):

Physical Sciences and Engineering

Life Sciences

Social Sciences and Humanities

STATISTICS (indicative)