Kompetenzzentrum Frauen in Wissenschaft und Forschung

Women gain ground in €655 million frontier research funding package

| Kategorien: Fördermaßnahmen; Wissenschaftspolitik; Europa und Internationales; Geschlechterverhältnisse; Wissenschaft Aktuell

How can we make patent-free and improved equivalents to existing medicines? Is “on-demand” vaccine development the only feasible option to combat unpredictable infections, such as those causing viral pandemics? What is the key to understanding how the collective memories and legacies of historic empires are created? Why is knowing more about the molecular cause for elephants’ long pregnancies so important? 327 laureates awarded the 2020 European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants will now be able to tackle these and other big scientific questions at research centres across Europe.

On December 9 the ERC announced the winners of its latest Consolidator Grant competition for mid-career researchers. The funding is part of the EU’s current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and worth in total €655 million. With this support, the new grantees will be able to consolidate their teams and have far-reaching impact.

On this occasion, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Congratulations to all this year’s ERC Consolidator Grant laureates - all selected solely based on excellence. While there is still progress to be made worldwide in achieving gender balance, I am pleased to note that there is an upward trend in women applying for this ERC scheme. We can also see that in this ERC competition the proportion of female applicants who were successful is the highest ever achieved - higher than that of male applicants.” 

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: “This funding not only empowers bright minds from across Europe to pursue their most ambitious ideas at a critical stage of their careers, but also helps train the youngest generation of researchers as members of their ERC teams. To prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, Europe must stick to the vision of investing in frontier research, which has proved time and again its crucial added value. That is why so many count on Europe’s leaders to endow the “Excellent Science” pillar of Horizon Europe with the resources essential to strengthen Europe as a whole.” 

Women applicants gain ground
37% of grants were awarded to female researchers, the highest proportion since the start of the Consolidator grant scheme. Overall, the success rate for women was 14.5% and for men 12.6%.There were also changes in success rates for two of the three domains into which projects are divided for evaluation purposes. In the Physical Sciences and Engineering domain the success rate of women exceeded that of men: it was 16.9% for women and 12% for men. In Life Sciences domain women won 15% and men won 12.9% of the grants. 

Research projects in 23 countries

The grantees will carry out their projects at universities, research centres and companies in 23 different countries across Europe, with Germany (50 grants), the United Kingdom (50), France (34) and the Netherlands (29) as leading locations. For the first time, a project based in Ukraine, a Horizon 2020 “Associated” country, will also be funded by a Consolidator Grant. 

Almost 40 different nationalities

In this call, researchers of 39 nationalities received Consolidator Grants: the most numerous were Italians (47 grants), Germans (45), French (27), and British (24). 

What do the researchers aim to discover?

The research projects proposed by the new grantees cover a wide range of topics in physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, as well as social sciences and humanities. 

Source, results in detail and background: PR - European Research Council (ERC), 09-12-2020

Further information: https://erc.europa.eu/news