Professor Melinda Mills has been awarded a Consolidator Grant of € 2 million by the European Research Council (ERC). Mills, Professor of Sociology, was given the grant for a research proposal entitled ‘Unravelling the genetic influences of reproductive behaviour and gene-environment interaction’.
To date, most social-scientific research has focused on explanations involving the social environment, and largely disregarded the role of genes. However, the research that Melinda Mills intends to conduct focuses on genetic influences and the interaction with the environment. Progress in molecular genetics over the past two decades has made it possible to explore whether certain aspects of reproductive behaviour, such as age of the first-time mother, the number of children and infertility, have a genetic component.
Innovative research method
Mills’ transdisciplinary project continues on from her previous studies. She expects that it will provide important new information for research into fertility, as well as into various other research fields. Adding genetic variables to demographic research is innovative, says Mills. She will conduct the research together with the Department of Genetic Epidemiology of the UMCG. The project is expected to run for five years and generate work for 2 postdocs and 2 PhD students.
ERC Consolidator Grants
The European Research Council awards major individual European research grants in three categories: the Starting Grant, the Advanced Grant and the Consolidator Grant. Consolidator Grants are intended to support talented, excellent researchers with 7 to 12 years of experience.
Melinda Mills (Canada, 1969) is Professor of Sociology of the Life Course. She studied sociology and demography at the University of Alberta, Canada, before being awarded a PhD with distinction by the University of Groningen. Mills then went on to work at universities in Bielefeld (Germany) and Amsterdam. In 2006, she returned to Groningen as a Rosalind Franklin Fellow. Her research focuses on the analysis of inequality and life course, and on statistical methods for studying these processes. She makes use of large-scale databases from various countries for this research. Mills was also a senior researcher on the prestigious GLOBALIFE project and is editor-in-chief of the European Sociological Review.
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