UK-based researchers got the highest number of grants under the latest round of the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants scheme. It supports established scientists with long-term funding for ground-breaking and high-risk projects. This follows on success in January when UK-based teams were again top of the ERC league for the Proof of Concept grants, which support bringing innovative ideas to market.
The successful teams work on projects exploring: how metabolism influences pancreatic cancer; computer simulations to understand how enzymes work at molecular level; behavioural models and machine learning; planetary systems around white dwarfs; how magma oceans have defined Earth’s physical and chemical evolution and many more. 51 UK research teams secured ERC Advanced Grants out of a total of 209 successful applicants from EU member states and associated countries.
The UK also features the highest number of successful women researchers, following a trend in ERC funding which has seen the number of successful women applicants double between 2014 and 2020. One such UK example is the work of Professor Sonia Bhalotra who analyses the role of violence against women in gender inequality
While the UK was an EU member, UK-based teams and researchers have been among the most successful applicants for ERC funding, receiving a total of over €4 billion since the start of this funding in 2007.
Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, reached by the EU and the UK on 24 December 2020, the UK will become an associated country to Horizon Europe, the EU’s research programme which includes the ERC as well as many other opportunities for UK universities, research centres, scientists, innovative businesses and industry to apply from the start. This associated status means that UK participants will have the same rights as EU participants. UK entities are eligible for funding at the same rates and under the same conditions. They can lead project consortia. They also count towards the minimum number of countries in calls for transnational projects.
The ERC has three main types of grants: Starting Grants support young researchers, starting their own independent team, Consolidator Grants are for scientists who want to consolidate their work and Advanced Grants for leading advanced investigators. The next round of Advanced Grants funding is with a deadline 31 August.
More information about this funding and applications.
Over the new seven-year EU budget, the European Research Council is set to receive over €16 billion - an increase of 22% compared to the previous programme, Horizon 2020.