The European Research Council (ERC) has provided 605 million Euros to 406 researchers throughout Europe. These funds are part of the starting grants devoted to excellent research projects throughout the European territory, financing up to 1,5 million Euros to each project.
This year, the female percentage of winners was higher than the past (reaching the threshold of 40%), so it was the national variety: 48 different nationalities were registered this year, the highest number ever. The competition was open to researchers of whatever nationality who were willing to move to Europe to conduct their research. The beneficiaries will be hosted in 23 different European countries, seeing the United Kingdom at the top with 79 projects, followed by Germany (67) and France (53).
The winners in Italy were 43: 19 women and 24 men. With regard to their research projects, 17 of them will be conducted in Italy plus 2 belonging to two foreign researchers who chose the Bel Paese as their research environment. In particular, the Italian research locations chosen were the University of Padua, the University of Trento, the University of Venice, the University of Turin, the University of Naples Federico II, the University of Milan, Telethon Foundation, the University of Verona, SISSA in Trieste and CNR. The financed research projects include a number of sectors, such as chronic infections, asthma, disaster management, network security and climate change.
Carlos Moedas – European Commissioner for Research – has enthusiastically commented on the grants, defining them a tool through which “the European Union provides facilitated conditions during the early stage of a research project, playing a pivotal role in keeping local talents and attracting new ones”. Undoubtedly, the starting grants represent an outstanding opportunity for young researchers to continue their studies with adequate research teams. In particular, winners could employ about 1500 PhD students and post-doc fellows, contributing to create a new generation of European researchers of excellence.