Six Irish-based researchers secure €12m in major ERC funding round

29 Nov 2018

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The ERC has revealed its list of successful researcher awardees for its Consolidator Grant competition worth a total of €573m.

In one of the largest single European research grant schemes of the calendar year, the European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 291 researchers from across Europe a total of €573m – or approximately €2m each – to take their work to the next level.

A total of 2,389 research proposals were received by the ERC and, of the number granted, 32pc of them were given to women. This new round of grants should create around 1,750 jobs for postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and other staff working in the grantees’ research team.

The grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 21 different countries across Europe. Interestingly, in the wake of Brexit, the UK leads the way with the most number of grants (55) followed by Germany (38), France (32) and Switzerland (29). However, Germany leads the way in the nationalities of grantees with 49, followed by Italy (35) and France (34).

Of the extensive list released, a total of six Irish-based researchers made the cut, including two from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) as well as one each from Maynooth University, University College Dublin (UCD), the University of Limerick (UL) and University College Cork (UCC).

“This ERC funding will allow ambitious scientists to establish or strengthen their teams in Europe and be truly creative in their research,” said Prof Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president of the ERC. “Beyond a push to the grantees’ careers, this European support will offer an excellent working environment for younger researchers at doctoral and postdoctoral levels.”

The six Irish grantees are:

  • Katherine Browne, a geography professor at Maynooth University working in the areas of sexuality and gender. Her research project is called ‘Opposing Sexual and Gender Rights and Equalities: Transforming Everyday Spaces’
  • Eoin Carolan, an associate professor at UCD and an expert in Irish constitutional and administrative law. His project is called ‘The Foundations of Institutional Authority: A Multidimensional Model of the Separation of Powers’
  • Laura Cleaver, a lecturer in medieval art at TCD. Her project will investigate the significance of the trade in medieval manuscripts for the development of ideas about the nature and importance of European culture
  • Aline Vidotto, an assistant professor in the School of Physics at TCD. Her work will quantify how streams of gas that pour out from stars influence the loss of atmospheres of planets outside our own solar system, which orbit close to their stars
  • Adina Preda, a lecturer in political theory at UL. Her project is entitled ‘Right and Egalitarianism’
  • J Griffith Rollefson, an established lecturer in popular music studies at UCC. His project is entitled ‘Cipher: Hip-Hop Interpellation (The International Council of Hip-Hop Studies)’

Cleaver said: “I am delighted and honoured to be awarded this grant. It is wonderful to receive such a vote of confidence from an international panel of senior colleagues and I am really looking forward to developing this research into some of Europe’s cultural treasures.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic