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The European Research Council (ERC) has released a statement approving the third round of its 2015 Proof of Concept grant competition. A total of 135 grantees have been awarded €150,000 each from the funding scheme. EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas said: “There can be no sustainable environment for European innovation without scientific excellence. Proof of Concept grants help researchers bridge the divide between academia and the market. They support the frontier science that leads to innovation with real-life applications, creating new opportunities for European jobs and products.” Some of these new products and applications include the harnessing of bionic silkworms for the manufacture of ‘super-hard fibres’, new treatments for chronic wounds, and the reverse-engineering of mediaeval building processes, which is intended to aid the restoration of Europe’s fascinating architectural heritage. Selected grantees represent 15 EU member states: United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Sweden and Poland; as well as representatives from Israel and Switzerland. Launched in 2011, the Proof of Concept fund has benefitted over 400 researchers that had previously been awarded an ERC grant in order to get their ideas to market. Led by the Scientific Council, an independent governing body, and part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, began funding excellent scientific research in 2007. The post ERC funds 135 Proof of Concept grants appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Research Council (ERC) has now published its guidelines for national or regional authorities and other organisations wishing to set up fellowship programmes to fund short term visits of potential ERC applicants to current ERC grantees’ teams. Countries eligible for hosting ERC grants may consider introducing such schemes to stimulate and help their researchers fare better in ERC grant competitions. The ERC welcomes such initiatives by facilitating and streamlining the process. Professor Éva Kondorosi, research professor at the Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and chair of the ERC Scientific Council’s Working Group on Widening European Participation, said: “We encourage such measures. The fellowship programmes can create win-win situations. They will offer prospective applicants for ERC grants an opportunity to see first-hand how ERC-funded research works in practice, while for the ERC grantees who will host the visitors they will be a chance to strengthen and diversify their teams. Overall, this can advance our goal to widen the European participation in ERC calls and use the full potential for frontier research across Europe.” The guidelines recommend that fellowship programmes are notified to the ERC, are open to researchers of all disciplines, and are based on transparent evaluation, with scientific excellence as the main criterion and final selection based on applicants’ potential to be awarded an ERC grant. The programmes should require the visitors to apply for an ERC grant within a specified time after the visit. Costs, such as travel and salary pertaining to these visits, should be covered by the scheme organisers, say the guidelines. The ERC says it will recognise the fellowship schemes that follow the guidelines and will promote them among grantees, facilitating exchange of information between the grantees and scheme organisers. The post ERC publishes new guidelines appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Research Council (ERC) is taking part in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss how blue sky research brings about innovation. Amongst other leaders, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas and ERC president Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon will today participate in the five-day event to underline Europe’s efforts to attract top scientists. Moedas commented: “It will be important to discuss the European Union’s role in the 4th Industrial Revolution at Davos this week. One thing is for sure, there will be no revolution without supporting the kind of interdisciplinary, frontier research that will lead to innovation in European industry and manufacturing. “That is why the work of European Research Council grantees is so important. We need our best minds to push the boundaries of research, while policymakers work harder with the scientific community to create flexible innovation ecosystems that are capable of dealing with sudden and unprecedented changes in the world around us.” Bourguignon added: “The whole idea of the European Research Council is based on the power of curiosity-driven science and serendipity to bring about major scientific breakthroughs. That’s why the ERC funds top researchers, no matter where they come from, to let them develop their ambitious projects in any field – from sociology to nanotechnology, genetics or logics. Providing substantial support, the ERC helps Europe attract more top talent and to make it a natural home for first-class science.” At the summit, the ERC will also be represented by 13 of its funded researchers who will speak in 16 sessions showcasing their research. Amongst them are two renowned economists: Professor Hélène Rey, who will share her expertise in global financial cycles, and Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides, who will give his insights into unemployment. The ERC will also hold an IdeasLab session with four grantees who will speak about the future of computing. Follow the event live via the Davos 2016 webstream. The post ERC advocates cutting-edge research in Davos appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Aalto University has so far been awarded more European Research Council (ERC) grants through Horizon 2020 than any other Finnish organisation, an analysis by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, has found. It is now the 28th most successful European university to apply to the funding programme, up from 59th in the Seventh Framework Programme and five places ahead of the University of Helsinki. “I want to thank our entire personnel for a job well done,” said university provost Ilkka Niemelä. “This result shows that we at Aalto are doing ever better and internationally more competitive research. Thanks to that, our opportunities to expand our funding base in the challenges of the current economy are also improving.” Altogether, Finland has been the target of around €200m in Horizon 2020 grants, with universities taking a €70m share. Up until now, Aalto has received the third largest amount of funding in Finland (€17.2m for 28 projects), just below the University of Helsinki (€17.9m for a total of 40 projects). The largest share of Horizon 2020 funding has gone to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland with €34m. The post Aalto University tops Finnish ERC grants appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Researchers at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, have created an ultra-lightweight and flexible elastomer from graphene. With a sponge-like texture, this new material has the capability of sensing an astonishing array of frequencies in pressure and vibration. According to Dr Ling Qiu, the elastomer “far exceeds the response range of our skin. It also has a very fast response time, much faster than conventional polymer elastomer. Although we often take it for granted, the pressure sensors in our skin allow us to do things like hold a cup without dropping it, crushing it, or spilling the contents. The sensitivity and response time of the elastomer could allow a prosthetic hand or a robot to be even more dexterous than a human.” The full versatility of graphene remains unknown, but with more and more applications for the ‘wonder material’ appearing all over the world, it may be only a matter of time before it is used in prosthetic human limb replacement. It stands to reason, then, that human skin replacement and/or augmentation may follow. Graphene continues to exceed initial expectations for its uses; it is small wonder, then, that it is beginning to resemble a significant contributor to the future of materials. The post Study: Graphene more sensitive than skin appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The sixth and final Business Innovation Observatory (BIO) Conference kicks off next Monday (25 January) in Brussels, Belgium. The two-day conference will sum up the last three years of the Business Innovation Observatory and look to the future of European innovation. Around 200 participants are expected to attend, including role model entrepreneurs, serial investors, industry experts and high-level policy makers. Among the highlights, the conference will feature inspiring success stories from companies showcased by BIO in its various studies and reports, presentations by innovative young entrepreneurs about their visions for the future, panel discussions with policy makers and business representatives on the main drivers and challenges for European innovative companies, and a networking dinner and show fair. The Business Innovation Observatory is an EU initiative providing regular evidence on the latest innovative trends in business and industry, including how innovative solutions are developed and brought to market, as well as their impact on the economy. For more information, visit the EASME website, or keep up with the event on Twitter using the hashtag #BIOfuture. The post Final business innovation conference upcoming appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
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