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408 early-career researchers have been awarded European Research Council’s Starting grants in this year’s first completed ERC call for proposals. The highly-coveted funding will help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research across all disciplines. The grants, worth in total EUR 621 million, are part of the EU’ Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The successful candidates’ research covers a diverse range of topics, including studying how forest foods could provide a solution to world hunger; assessing the intensity, frequency, and distribution of extreme sea levels in Europe; investigating how tech companies sell their products and seek consumers’ trust, or unravelling the survival skills of single cell organisms.
The results of this competition show a greater diversity of nationalities than before: researchers are from 51 different countries of origin across the world. 20 researchers will move to Europe from outside the EU and associated countries to conduct new research. The ERC-funded research will be carried out in 24 countries, with institutions from Germany (73), the UK (64) and the Netherlands (53) to host the highest number of projects. 13% of applications were selected for funding this time. These Starting Grants will help the selected scientists build their own research teams, creating an estimated 2,500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions.