Three Uppsala researchers win ERC Starting Grants

3 September 2020

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The European Research Council (ERC) has now announced which researchers have been awarded ERC Starting Grants in the 2020 call. A total of EUR 677 million will be shared out among 436 researchers across the EU. Three of the 23 grants awarded to Swedish higher education institutions go to researchers at Uppsala University.

ERC Starting Grants are for early-career researchers (2–7 years after completing their PhD) seeking to establish themselves as research leaders in Europe. The grants are part of the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.

“With European Research Council grants, the EU is leveraging the talent and curiosity of some of the best young researchers in Europe,” says Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “Their ideas are set to break fresh ground and open new ways to deal with pressing challenges in the areas of health, energy and digital technologies, as well as many other fields. Our ambition to effectively tackle current and future crises depends on our strong will to continuously and increasingly support top research at the frontiers of our knowledge.”

A total of 3,272 applications came in this year and 436 researchers (13% of applicants) in 25 countries have won funding for five years. ERC Starting Grants are awarded in three domains: Life Sciences (124 researchers), Physical Sciences and Engineering (186 researchers), and Social Sciences and Humanities (126 researchers).

Three of the 23 grants awarded to Swedish higher education institutions go to researchers at Uppsala University:

Magnus Johansson, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, for the project “Single-molecule tracking for live-cell protein synthesis kinetics”. His research aims to achieve a deeper understanding of the dynamics and molecular details of protein synthesis in its context. New tools based on fluorescence are being developed to study protein synthesis at single-molecule level in living bacteria cells.

Gabriele Messori, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, for the project “Compound Climate Extremes in North America and Europe: from dynamics to predictability”. His research focuses on extreme weather and atmospheric predictability in current and future climates. He uses approaches including dynamic systems theory, machine learning and other statistical analyses. His other research interests include atmospheric energy flows, climate–carbon cycle interactions and palaeo-monsoons.

Chao Zhang, Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University, for the project “Deep multi-scale modelling of electrified metal oxide nanostructures”. His research focuses on advanced materials for electrochemical energy storage systems. He is working on energy storage/conversion applications on the basis of fundamental aspects of the physical chemistry of ionically conducting solutions and the physical chemistry of electrically charged interfaces.

About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality conducting research projects in Europe. The ERC awards four types of grants: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants.

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