Brussels, 5 February 2013
EU funding to help 'blue sky' research to market
New EU funding announced today will provide grants, worth €150,000 each, for top-level researchers to bridge the gap between their work and marketable innovation. The European Research Council (ERC) has today published the outcome of the latest round of its top-up funding scheme 'Proof of Concept. A total of 60 grants have now been awarded to researchers who are already ERC grantees, with the 27 latest announced today.
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.
Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "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. 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."
The grants are going to researchers across ten countries in the European Research Area (EU Member States plus countries associated to the research framework programme). The overall budget for this call is €10 million. 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.
List of the final 27 selected Principal Investigators by country of host institution (in
alphabetical order within each country group)
Full list of all selected Principal Investigators by country of host institution (in alphabetical order within each country group)
The European Research Council launched the new funding initiative, the 'Proof of Concept', in March 2011, to contribute to stimulating innovation. The grant can be worth up to €150,000 each and the total budget of the second ERC 'Proof of Concept' call is €10 Mio. The call is open to all Principal Investigators benefitting from an on-going ERC grant or a grant that ended less than twelve months before the publication date of the call. The funding is for up to one year per grant.
Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. The ERC operates according to an "investigator-driven", or "bottom-up", approach, allowing researchers to identify new opportunities in any field of research. Since its launch, the ERC has funded over 3,100 frontier research projects throughout Europe and has become a "benchmark" for excellent research.
The ERC, which is the newest component of the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme, has a total budget of €7.5 billion from 2007 to 2013. The European Commission has proposed a significant boost of the ERC budget to over €13 billion in the new framework programme "Horizon 2020" (2014-2020). This is based on an overall budget proposal of €80 billion over seven years for Horizon 2020.