EU grants €8.25m to 55 scientists in top-up funding to boost innovation

One of the projects is dedicated to a new low-cost test for Covid-19

Photo: EU Mariya Gabriel.

Fifty-five researchers will receive a total of €8.25 m, or €150,000 each, through the European Research Council’s Proof of Concept grant scheme to explore the commercial or societal potential of their work and to bring their research closer to the market.

A new low-cost test for Covid-19, sharing cultural expertise to solve conflicts, developing new treatment options for retinal degenerative diseases and blindness, further improvements to a clean energy producing technology are among the examples of how frontier researchers will use extra ERC funding.

The Proof of Concept grants, awarded by the European Research Council today, demonstrate how frontier research results can be applied to create innovations that benefit society and industry, said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

She added that the research funded in this call is set to break fresh ground and to open new ways of dealing with pressing challenges in the areas of health, migration and climate change, amongst many other fields.

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon commented that “frontier research is the basis that generates innovation in many forms, not only technological, which in turn can impact society positively.”

ERC Proof of Concept grants can be used to explore business opportunities, prepare patent applications or verify the practical viability of scientific concepts. With the new grants the total number of ERC Proof of Concept funded projects for 2020 became 166. 

The European Research Council, set up by the EU in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe.

To date, the ERC has funded over 9,800 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe.

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