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Academic Careers

New ERC Starting Grants Awarded

On Friday, the European Research Council (ERC) announced the winners of its Starting Grants, which offer early-career investigators up to 2 million euros over 5 years to help them establish or build up their research groups at European institutions.

Now in its fourth year, the program awarded more than 670 million euros to 480 early-career researchers. This year’s competition was considerably more competitive than last year’s; the ERC received 42% more applications than last year (from 2873 to 4080), but funding was up just 15% — a nice rise, but insufficient to keep up with the increase in the number of applications. The result: a 12% success rate.

The average age of the new ERC grantees is 37 years and just over a fifth are women. German, British, and Italian researchers are the most numerous among the awardees; the United Kingdom, Germany, and France are the most favored host countries. Seventeen researchers will use their grants to move from the United States to Europe; two of these are American, one is Canadian, and the other 14 are returning Europeans. 46% of the awardees are in the physical sciences and engineering, 35% study the life sciences, and 19% are from the social sciences and humanities. 
The ERC has published a comprehensive statistical analysis of the 2011 awards, together with a list of the selected projects and researchers.  (The winners included Adrian Bachtold, who was profiled previously on Science Careers). 
The ERC’s call for new Starting Grant proposals is issued each summer, with deadlines in autumn. More information on the ERC Web site