The European Research Council (ERC) is supporting six Irish early career researchers over the coming five years with grants worth up to €2m each.
This is part of its fourth ‘ERC Starting Grant’ competition, where just more than €670m is allocated to top talent around Europe to carry out their pioneering research in any domain.
"ERC grants are now highly coveted in the research community, not least among younger researchers who often struggle to find funding,” said Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.
“I am committed to ensuring that the ERC can continue funding the ‘cream of the crop’. This helps make Europe more competitive on the world stage and contributes to making the Innovation Union a reality."
Applications for funding rise
The number of applications for the starting grants increased by 42pc compared to last year. The projects selected cover a wide variety of topics: from studying the exceptional properties of biological nanomaterials to the health impact of exposure to traffic noise and the role of economic media in financial crises.
The ERC grants are open to all fields of research. In this call, 46pc of applicants were selected in ‘Physical Sciences and Engineering’, 35pc in ‘Life Sciences’ and 19pc in ‘Social Sciences and Humanities’.
The Irish researchers benefitting from these grants are:
- Eoin Casey of University College Dublin, project: Analysis of Biofilm Mediated Fouling of Nanofiltration Membranes
- Paolo Guasoni of Dublin City University, project: Market Frictions in Mathematical Finance
- Jennifer Claire McElwain of University College Dublin, project: Atmospheric oxygen as a driver of plant evolution over the past 400 million years
- John Michael Nolan, Waterford Institute of Technology, project: Enrichment of macular pigment, and its impact on vision and blindness
- Sean O Riain, National University of Ireland Maynooth, project: New Deals in the New Economy
- Carola Schulzke, Trinity College Dublin, project: MocoModels Synthesis of mono-dithiolene molybdenum complexes and their evaluation as potential drugs for the treatment of human isolated sulfite oxidase deficiency.