Researchers in UK snap up fifth of ERC ‘consolidator’ grants

UK-based researchers have claimed the lion’s share of the European Research Council’s new consolidator grants, announced today

The grants are aimed at mid-career academics, between 7 and 12 years beyond their PhDs. Previously such academics were eligible to apply for ERC starting grants, but growing demand has seen that scheme split into two, with starting grants now restricted to those between 2 and 7 years beyond their PhDs.

Despite the division, the success rate for the consolidator grants was just 8.5 per cent, compared with 24 per cent for grants from the Medical Research Council, which had the lowest success among UK research councils in 2012-13. The number of applications - 3,673 – is a 46 per cent rise on applications received from the corresponding group in 2012.

Of the 312 awards announced in the €575 million (£478 million) scheme today, 62 (20 per cent) have gone to UK-based researchers. German institutions have attracted 43 grants and French institutions won 42.

However, among nationalities, British researchers won just 31 grants, compared with 48 by Germans, 46 by Italians and 33 by French researchers. Women won 24 per cent of the grants.

Institutions in 21 EU member countries won at least one grant, with nine countries winning five or more grants.

Around 45 per cent of the grants are in physical sciences and engineering, with 37 per cent in the life sciences and 19 per cent in humanities and the social sciences.

The grants are worth up to €2.75 million each, with an average of €1.84 million per grant.

New ERC president Jean-Pierre Bourguignon said: “Judging by the ever increasing demand for ERC grants, especially from early-and mid-career researchers, it is clear that funding of this kind is much needed.

“It’s pivotal for Europe to create conditions for its new generation of researchers to thrive while following their scientific curiosity.”

paul.jump@tsleducation.com

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?

  • Muslim woman at graduation ceremony, Barbican, London

Sector called on to embrace faith-related concerns in intellectual debates