New EU €10m Blue Sky fund awards grants of up to €150k per project

5 Feb 2013

The EU will today award 27 top level researchers with ‘proof of concept’ grants worth €150,000 to fund their proof of concept projects under its ‘Blue Sky’ funding scheme.

“This second round of ‘proof of concept’ grants is great news, as we need to bring more of our best ideas to market in Europe,” Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said.

“This initiative helps ERC grant holders to realise the potential of their breakthroughs and discoveries.

“Through these grants and by funding ‘blue sky’ research in general, the ERC is helping make Europe more competitive now and for the future,” she added.

The grants are going to researchers across 10 countries in the European Research Area (EU Member States plus countries associated to the research framework programme).

The overall budget for this call is €10m. A total of 69 proposals were submitted in October 2012 for the second deadline of this call, from which the 27 winners announced today were selected.

The first deadline in May 2012 attracted 75 proposals, resulting in 33 winners announced in September 2012.

Projects cover a wide range of topics, such as innovative drug therapies and new biomaterials, greener and cheaper industrial chemical substances, as well as a more inclusive approach for building accessibility. Proof of Concept funding can cover activities related to, for instance, intellectual property rights, investigation of commercial and business opportunities or technical validation.

Prof Martin Albrecht, a researcher in the University College Dublin’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, was one of the researchers previously awarded a ‘Proof of Concept’ grant in September last year. Albrecht was awarded his grant for his project ‘ Carbenergy – Mesoionic carbine complexes for water splitting: Harnessing renewable energy sources’.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years