Researcher Michael Dee of the University of Groningen has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. The European Research Council (ERC) awards these personal grants of two million euro to outstanding scientists. With this grant, the ERC stimulates groundbreaking research in Europe. Peter van der Meer (UMCG) has also received a Consolidator Grant.
Michael Dee’s project is entitled CONTACT (Chronology of the Norse Trans-Atlantic Colonies and Territories). It builds on the research strands developed during his ERC Starting Grant (ECHOES), especially the solar-storm dating technique his group have been pioneering. CONTACT primarily investigates where, when and for how long Europeans went to the Americas prior to Columbus, who they may have encountered, and whether there were any lasting impacts of these first transatlantic connections. The 5-year project will be based at the UG’s Centre for Isotope Research (CIO), with a key collaborator being the Centre for Geogenetics of the University of Copenhagen.
This ERC Grant is not the first time that Michael Dee's research has been recognised as important. In October 2021, Dee and his colleagues made global headlines after discovering that Europeans were present on the American continent in 1021 AD. This date also represents the earliest known instance of the Atlantic Ocean being crossed. Dee and his team were able to trace back to this moment by researching pieces of wood cut by the Vikings. The exact year could be determined because a huge solar storm occurred in the year 992, leaving a clear isotopic signal in the following year's annual rings.
Prof. Michael Dee received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Wellington in New Zealand, and his PhD from the University of Oxford in England in 2009. After getting his doctoral degree, he worked for a further seven years as a chemist and research fellow at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit of the University Oxford. He is currently Associate Professor of Isotope Chronology within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the UG.
The ERC supports talented young researchers in setting up research teams and starting up independent research projects. The Consolidator Grants are open to mid-career academics of all nationalities. An ERC grant enables researchers to initiate daring, ground-breaking research projects and open up new avenues in their fields.
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