Green light for research projects

17 scientists at Max Planck Institutes receive ERC Starting Grants

December 19, 2014

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Starting Grants to 328 first-class junior scientists in the first competitive round under the Horizon 2020 programme, valued at a total of 485 million euros. Among the successful applicants are 14 male and four female scientists who research at Max Planck Institutes.

The ERC received a total of 3273 applications for research funding, with the overall number of projects put forward by female scientists again rising slightly from 30 to 33 percent. Irrespective of this, the success rate was equally high among men and women, with an average of ten percent of applications being approved. On the other hand, there were a number of differences between the three funding areas: whereas in the life sciences 12 percent of all applications were approved, in the social sciences and humanities only 8.3 percent of applicants received a Starting Grant. In physics and engineering, the field in which the bulk of applications – 45 percent – were received and approved, the proportion was 9.7 percent.

Grants were awarded to scientists – male and female - from 38 nations working at 180 institutions and universities throughout Europe: 70 of them in Germany, 55 in Great Britain, 43 in France and 34 in the Netherlands. The Max Planck Society with 17 Starting Grants made a major contribution towards Germany’s strong performance. Only Europe’s largest research organization, the French Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), received more funding, garnering 23 Grants. The MPG was by far the most successful institution in Germany, ahead of the LMU in Munich and the Helmholtz Association institutions with five Grants. Applications were submitted by 69 Max Planck scientists, with the result that the MPG’s own internal success rate amounted to around 23 percent. In the overall ranking among the most successful institutions, the MPG continues to hold second place behind the CNRS and ahead of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Starting Grants enable young researchers in Europe in the early stages of their career up to seven years after receiving their doctorates to develop their profile independently and make the transition from directed research to scientific autonomy. To be awarded a grant, it is necessary to submit a proposal for a research project of excellence; each successful scientist then receives up to two million euros in funding. The successful applicants in the Max Planck Society were:

  • Blazej Grabowski (MPI für Eisenforschung)
  • Na Liu, Ludovic Righetti (MPI for Intelligent Systems)
  • Sebastian Loth, Melanie Schnell (MPI for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter)
  • Bettina Lotsch (MPI for Solid State Research)
  • Jiayin Yuan (MPI of Colloids and Interfaces)
  • Henrik Bringmann (MPI for Biophysical Chemistry)
  • Frank Chan, Patrick Müller (Friedrich Miescher Laboratory)
  • Martin Denzel (MPI for Biology of Ageing)
  • Tobias Erb (MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology)
  • Ilona Grunwald Kadow (MPI of Neurobiology)
  • Gurumoorthy Krishnamoorthy, Thomas Wollert (MPI of Biochemistry)
  • Marcel Oberlaender (MPI for Biological Cybernetics)
  • Michael Schmid (Ernst Strüngmann Institute)


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