Wednesday, Minister Ronald Plasterk honoured the Dutch winners of the prestigious European Starting Investigator Grants. One of them is biochemist Dr. Armagan Koçer from the University of Groningen. The ceremony took place in the Trippenhuis, home of the Dutch sience society KNAW in Amsterdam. The European grants help excellent young researchers set up a research line.
December 2007 the European Research Council (ERC) awarded the Groningen biochemist Dr Armagan Koçer (1970, Tunisia) a Starting Investigator Grant of EUR 1.5 million. The grant is designed to help start up an own research group within a period of five years. Dr Koçer works for the department of enzymology of the University of Groningen where she researches the biochemistry of senses such as hearing and taste. There were more than ten thousand applications last year for an ERC grant. Less than three percent were successful, roughly 200 spread across Europe.
Dr. Armagan Koçer studied at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. She came to Groningen in 2000. ‘I’m mainly interested in useful research, that helps pharmaceutical researchers develop new medicine,’ Koçer says. She speaks highly of the favourable climate for science in the Netherlands. ‘For scientists it’s heaven on earth.’
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More than 200 researchers and their teams can begin to work on social and scientific issues in close collaboration with public and private parties. This close collaboration will take place in 17 research projects.