Max Planck teams successful at ERC Synergy Grants

Five Max Planck researchers win EU funding

October 28, 2019

Five researchers from the Max Planck Society and their colleagues from other institutions have each won one of the highly endowed Synergy Grants of the European Research Council ERC. A total of 37 applications were approved across Europe.

Serena DeBeer (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion), Markus Reichstein (Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry) (top row from left), Dirk Görlich (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry), Johannes Krause (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) and Stefan Raunser (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology) (bottom from left) have each obtained Synergy Grants from the ERC in international collaborations.

Synergy Grants enable groups of two to four top researchers to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources to jointly tackle research issues. In return, the Grantees will receive up to 14 million euros over a period of up to six years. The ERC is providing a total of 363 million euros in this call for proposals.

Five Max Planck scientists are involved in four of the selected projects: Serena DeBeer from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion receives the funding together with Unni Olsbye from the University of Oslo, Vincent Eijsink from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Silvia Bordiga from the University of Turin. In their "CUBE" project, they aim to develop a cleaner way of producing chemicals.

Improving climate models and the analysis and interpretation of Earth system data: this is the goal of the "USMILE" project. Markus Reichstein from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry will receive a Synergy Grant for this project together with Veronika Eyring from the German Aerospace Center, Gustau Camps-Valls from the University of Valencia and Pierre Gentine from Columbia University in New York. The international team combines machine learning with physical models of atmosphere and land.

In the project "HistoGenes" Johannes Krause from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is working together with Walter Pohl from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Tivadar Vida from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and Patrick Geary from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. With this grant, they are financing a multidisciplinary study to investigate more than 100 medieval cemeteries in Central and Eastern Europe.

 Two Max Planck scientists are participating in a project to investigate the nanostructure of muscles and the causes of muscular diseases: Stefan Raunser, from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology and Dirk Görlich from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, together with their colleagues Mathias Gautel from King's College London and Frank Schnorrer from the Developmental Biology Institute in Marseille, have acquired one of the highly endowed Synergy Grants for their project "StuDySARCOMERE". The research team hopes to elucidate the previously unknown molecular details of muscle function.

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