Two ERC Advanced Grants to Uppsala University



In the latest round of ERC Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), two researchers at Uppsala University have been successful: Ashleigh Harris and Sebastian Deindl. Their projects are about metadata for African literature and advanced studies of how genetic information is packaged.

Ashleigh Harris, Professor of English.

Ashleigh Harris, Professor of English, receives a grant for the project Almeda: African Literary Metadata. The project will produce new metadata for African literature, which unlike previous, colonial systems does not focus on books. It also includes less formal literary forms, such as spoken-word poetry, street theatre, and a variety of online genres. The goal is to make African literature more searchable, by creating and linking metadata.

“This project is an attempt to respond to the problem that a large part of African literary culture is easily lost. In addition, the project will explore how the Western world's contemporary understanding of the concept of 'literature' has developed alongside colonialism,” says Harris.

What does receiving the grant from the ERC mean to you?
“It means a lot to me personally, both for my own career and as a female researcher in the humanities. Research in the humanities rarely has access to grants large enough to enable broad and expansive thinking as is made possible by this grant.”

Sebastian Deindl, Professor of Molecular
Biophysics. Photo. Mikael Wallerstedt

Sebastian Deindl, Professor of Molecular Biophysics, receives a grant for the DONUTS project, which will study genetic information packaged into a highly compact state called chromatin. The basic building blocks of chromatin, the nucleosomes, play a crucial role in switching genes on and off, and in the replication and repair of our genetic substance. They will now be studied using novel high-throughput single-molecule imaging approaches that will be developed in the project.

“This can provide groundbreaking mechanistic insights into the fundamental processes that establish chromatin architecture. These processes often go awry in cancer, and understanding how nucleosomes are organised into chromatin may provide insights into the aberrant regulation of genes in cancer,” says Sebastian Deindl.

What does receiving the grant from the ERC mean to you?
“An important part of making such an ambitious project possible is to be able to finance and recruit the required team of researchers with diverse backgrounds, for example in biophysics, data analysis, genetics and biochemistry. The ERC grant is sufficiently large to tackle something very difficult and helps recruit the best and brightest.”

Annica Hulth

ERC Advanced Grant

ERC Advanced Grant is intended for active researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last ten years, and the averaget grant is 2,5 million EUR. Under the call 2022, 218 researchers from 20 countries will share 544 million EUR. 13 of them are affiliated to a Swedish host institution, which is a new record for Sweden.

Subscribe to the Uppsala University newsletter