The ERC Awards its First Grants

Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway are all represented among the home/host countries of the 300 up-and-coming research leaders to receive Starting Independent Investigator grants from the European Research Council (ERC) 2008.
14 December 2007 the ERC announced the outcome of its first competition for Starting Independent Investigators. The ERC starting grants are designed to boost the careers of researchers, who may be working in any area of science or scholarship, at the time they are establishing themselves as independent research leaders.

Most of the Principal Investigators (PIs) to receive ERC grants are based in UK research institutions (almost 20 %). 4 % of the grants go to Swedish institutions, just over 2 % to Finnish institutions, 1 % to institutions in Denmark and less than 1 % to research institutions in Norway. When the distribution of grants is measured in relation to population the Nordic countries “score higher”: Finland and Sweden are found in fourth and fifth position respectively, of a total of 21 host countries. (Denmark: 10, Norway: 17.)

The Starting Grants competition – the first ERC call – stirred great interest throughout the research community. Over 9000 applications were submitted by the 25 April 2007 deadline. Of the 559 successful candidates at the first stage, 554 investigators submitted full proposals, of which 431 passed the quality thresholds for excellence.

The ERC hopes to fund some 300 of these already prioritised quality proposals. The first grants will be signed in February 2008.

(ERC press release + MEMO 14 December 2007)
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