Oxford University has won £14 million in new European Research Council (ERC) funding.
Created to support innovative, high-impact research across the academic disciplines, the ERC offer 5-year grants to outstanding scientists and top researchers working in academia across Europe. Since it was founded in 2007 the funding body has awarded close to €12 billion across more than 7,000 grants.
The ERC has announced today that it will award a total of 329 consolidator grants as part of its EU Horizon 2020 research programme. The fund is worth a total of €630 million and will have a far-reaching impact on science and beyond. Of this figure, more than €15 million (£14 million) will be given to Oxford University projects, bringing the University’s total amount of ERC funding received this year to nearly €30 million.
The recipients of the new Horizon 2020 awards come from 22 countries across Europe. Eight of the 60 grants awarded to UK institutions have been given to Oxford University researchers.
Other countries recognised include Germany, which will receive 56 grants, France (38) and the Netherlands (25).
The research initiatives chosen cover a range of scientific disciplines across the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences and the Humanities Divisions.
Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at the University of Oxford, said: ‘We are delighted at the success of our early career researchers in this recent round of ERC awards. The ERC approach to funding, based on the excellence of the research proposed, fits Oxford's ethos and we hope that all our academic colleagues will continue to be able to submit proposals to ERC in the future. Indeed, we would like to see the Brexit deal ensure that this vital opportunity for the UK is still open.’
European funding such as that from Horizon 2020 plays an important part in Oxford’s excellence in research. As well as providing vital financial support, it fosters collaboration across European institutions, between academics, researchers and students.
Professor Alastair Buchan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of Brexit Strategy at Oxford University, added: ‘It is great news that Oxford continues to be so successful in terms of gaining funding from the European Research Council’s research programmes, but its success this year underlines what is at stake for the University once the UK leaves the European Union. The EU’s research programmes have been instrumental in Oxford’s standing as a leading international research university, and we will continue to make.’
The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: ‘On behalf of the Scientific Council, I'd like to congratulate the new ERC grant winners. I also express my gratitude to the over 3,000 top scientists and scholars for their pain-staking work, evaluating and identifying the most ambitious proposals submitted to the ERC. The funding will encourage these mid-career scientists to explore further the unknown and develop their most daring ideas at their own initiative. By leaving them freedom, the ERC is enabling breakthroughs. This conditions the capacity of Europe to respond to a number of challenges and to improve the lives of its citizens, if the appropriate policies are adopted.'