Researchers from ETH Zurich have been successful in the allocation of prestigious ERC Consolidator Grants: two female and two male scientists have each received a grant of on average EUR 2 million. ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to successful researchers to help them continue to build their own research groups.
Higher success rate than the European average
Nine ETH group leaders submitted an application to the European Research Council (ERC); six made it to the next round and ultimately four were awarded funding. ETH researchers therefore achieved a success rate of 44 percent – significantly higher than the current European average of approx. 12 percent.
Five of the nine ETH applications received a score of “A”. In other words, the ERC considered a fifth ETH application to be eligible in principle for funding, but was not in a position to support it financially.
“Our researchers have once again proven their leading position on the international stage. I am particularly happy that our female scientists were so successful during this call for proposals,” says Detlef Günther, Vice President Research and Corporate Relations at ETH Zurich. Two of the four Consolidator Grants went to women; the third application submitted by a woman received a score of “A”. “I believe that these successes will serve as an inspiring example,” says Günther.
The selected projects cover a wide range of subject areas: from development of a vaccine against salmonella infections to exploration of the cosmic web that organises matter in our universe. (see brief introduction below)
No grants without a framework agreement?
The continued financial support of Swiss researchers by the European Union is still up in the air. With the European research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 set to expire at the end of next year, talks are currently underway on the new Horizon Europe framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU. It is essential that the two parties reach an agreement so that researchers at Swiss universities can continue to apply for ERC Research Grants in the future.
Researchers from Switzerland have been able to apply for EU funding since 2007. In addition to the Consolidator Grants, the ERC also awards Advanced Grants to established researchers and Starting Grants to those in the early stages of their careers. Furthermore, ERC Proof of Concepts Grants (funding for the preparation of feasibility studies and business plans) offer scientists the opportunity to translate their fundamental research into innovations with economic benefits.
The ERC is part of the European research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), to which Switzerland has again been fully affiliated since 1 January 2017.