The European Research Council (ERC) awards grants to excellent researchers, thus stimulating groundbreaking research in Europe.
ERC Starting Grants support talented young researchers in setting up a research team and starting an independent research project.
Consolidator Grants are meant for scientists who want to consolidate their independence by establishing a research team or who have recently created an independent, excellent research team and want to strengthen it.
The Advanced Grants are open to established academics of all nationalities and all ages. An ERC grant enables these researchers to start bold, groundbreaking research and thus open up new avenues in their field of study. The Proof of Concept grants help ERC laureates link their research to the market.
More information and contact
ERC Grants 2020
Prof. Gerard Roelfes
Prof. Gerard Roelfes has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant of EUR 2.5 million for his project ‘Designer enzymes featuring unnatural amino acids as catalytic residue’ (DENZUAC). In his project, Prof. Roelfes aims to create new ‘designer’ enzymes that feature unnatural amino acids as reactive group. For this, he will make use of technology that allows to expand the genetic code with unnatural amino acids. These novel enzymes will be applied for the catalysis of important chemical reactions that have no equivalent in nature.
More information on his research
Prof. Gerard Roelfes is a researcher at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry at the University of Groningen. His areas of expertise are biomolecular chemistry & catalysis.
Prof. Léon Koopmans
Prof. Léon Koopmans receives an ERC Advanced Grant worth EUR 3.5 million for his project ‘CoDEX The Final 21 cm Cosmology Frontier’. Of this, EUR 1 million will be spent on a new computer system for data processing and storage. This project aims to detect extremely faint radio signals of neutral hydrogen from the first billion years of our universe. To detect these signals, very sensitive observations will be used from the Dutch-built Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), the New Extension in Nançay Upgrading LOFAR (NenuFAR) in France, and the Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) currently situated behind the moon. CoDEX draws together these observational programs and their expertise into a single program. This allows improving the current limits on the 21-cm power spectrum of neutral hydrogen by three to six orders of magnitude.
Read more about Koopmans'research in this news article
Prof. Léon Koopmans is a researcher at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen. His expertise is in cosmology and gravitational lensing.
Prof. Erwin de Blok
Prof. Erwin de Blok has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant worth EUR 2.5 million for his project ‘MeerGas: Finding the Origin of Gas in Galaxies with MeerKAT’. With this project, Prof. De Blok aims to find the source of the neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies. Neutral hydrogen gas is the fuel for star formation. Most galaxies do not have enough gas reserves to form stars for their entire life. Therefore, they must be accreting gas from elsewhere. Computer simulations suggest that this gas may come from the space between galaxies. However, as the radiation that the gas emits is very faint, this process has never been observed unambiguously. Prof. De Blok and his research group will use extremely sensitive radio observations of nearby galaxies, made with the new MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa to detect the accreting gas.
Read more about De Blok's research
Prof. De Blok is a Senior Astronomer at ASTRON, The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and also associate professor at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen. He is a Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Dr Jingyuan Fu
Dr Jingyuan Fu is associate professor at the department of Genetics at the Facuty of Medical Sciences. She focuses on researching systems genetics, which seeks to understand complex biological systems by integrating systems biology with genetics.
Fu will use her Consolidor Grant to investigate whether the effectiveness of medicines can be improved by making adjustments to the whole of micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal system (intestinal microbiome). The motivation for this research lies in the face that a large number of patients do not respond well to commonly used drugs; some patients suffer from side effects. Her research focuses mainly on commonly used medication that patients receive with cardiovascular diseases or with psychiatric disorders. The research will take 5 years.
More information about her research can be found in the news article.
Prof. Michel Vols
Due to the economic crisis, since 2008, millions of people throughout the world have lost their homes or been threatened with eviction. The current coronavirus pandemic has once again caused a global rise in the threat of eviction. To what extent do national and international legislation and human rights laws protect people from the serious impact of a measure like being evicted from their homes? Professor of Public Order Law Michel Vols from the University of Groningen has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to carry out research into this subject. This € 1.5 million grant is awarded to excellent researchers as an incentive for pioneering research in Europe.
Read more on Vols' research
ERC Grants 2019
Geert van den Bogaart
Professor Geert van den Bogaart has been professor of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology at the UG since 2018. His research focuses on the link between the so-called congenital (innate) immune system and the acquired (adaptive) immune system. He studies how the congenital immune system decides to initiate an acquired immune system response.
With the ERC Consolidator Grant, Van den Bogaart would like to research why immune responses against pathogens are made selectively in cases of infection, while autoimmune diseases are prevented.
More information about his research can be found in the news article.
Professor Marleen Kamperman has been professor in Polymer Science at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ZIAM) since 2018. Her research focuses on the creation of 'new materials', such as the long, organic molecules that are often known as polymers.
With the ERC Consolidator Grant, Kamperman wants to develop new materials by using environmentally friendly processes, such as those that can be found in nature when looking at spider webs and the threads of the velvet worm. She hopes to simulate these processes in the laboratory.
More information about her research can be found in the news article.
Dr Cristóbal Bertoglio (Faculty of Science and Engineering, Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence) has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant for hi-fi cardiovascular modeling from super-fast MRI. Bertoglio’s research project called CardioZoom, aims to make possible quantitative MRIs of thin cardiovascular structures at very short MRI scan times.
Dr Giulia Fulvia Mancini (Faculty of Science and Engineering, Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials) has been awarded a Starting Grant for her project entitled 'Advanced EUV/soft X-ray microscopy in the ultrafast regime: imaging functionality of nanomaterials across length scales' (ULTRAIMAGE). ULTRAIMAGE tackles the need for novel strategies in the characterization of functional nanomaterials, through the study of their fundamental structure-property relationships.
Dr Cyril Moers (Faculty of Medical Sciences/UMCG) will be conducting research in the coming years into the use of perfusion machines with which donor kidneys can be tested. The insights from the research should lead to nephrologists and surgeons being able to make the right choice more often in the future when it comes to accepting or rejecting donor kidneys.
Read more about Moers in the UMCG news item.
Prof. Franjo Weissing, Theoretical Biology, has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant. Weissing will use the grant to investigate the evolution of regulation networks.
The ERC project has been divided into subprojects, which deal with concrete questions from different fields. Which organisms in a time of global warming are still able to adapt to their changing circumstances? How does an immune system adapt to the range of pathogens to which it is exposed? How did our ability to learn evolve, and what can we conclude from this about the structure of our brains and our emotional system?
Rudolf de Boer
Professor Rudolph de Boer is Professor in Translational Cardiology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences/UMCG. De Boer will use the ERC Grant to conduct research into the interaction between heart failure and the emergence of cancer.
The treatment for heart failure has improved, but the mortality rates remain high. It has become clear over the past few years that patients with heart failure often die of cancer, but this aspect has received little attention. De Boer will research whether different types of heart failure produce direct or indirect effects on the emergence of various types of cancer. It is expected that this will lead to the identification of factors that influence tumour growth, but possibly also to known kidney, liver and lung diseases that often occur alongside heart failure.
Helga de Valk
Prof. Helga de Valk is honorary Professor of Migration and the life course at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences. Her research focusses on the demographic characteristics and behavior of migrant populations.
De Valk was awarded the ERC Grant for her research Migrant youth mobility in Europe: Patterns, processes and consequences.
Dr Julia Even, KVI - Center for Advanced Radiation Technology
Title: Neutron-rich, EXotic, heavy nuclei produced in multinucleon Transfer reactions
Dr Louise Meijering, Faculty of Spatial Sciences
Title: Meaningful Mobility: a novel approach to movement within and between places in later life
Dr Andrea Sangiacomo, Faculty of Philosophy
Title: The normalisation of natural philosophy: how teaching practices shaped the evolution of early modern science
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Title: From light-stimulated anion receptors to transmembrane carriers and pumps
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