University of Oxford awarded major European Research Council funding

9 December 2020

European Research consolidator grants worth more than €16.3 million have today been awarded to eight University of Oxford researchers for a range of cutting-edge projects.

The highly-competitive funding, awarded to Europe’s most innovative, high-impact academics, has been won by researchers from across the university’s four divisions.
The coveted prizes are awarded by the ERC to researchers with between seven and 12 years’ post-doctoral experience, ‘all selected solely based on excellence’, according to Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Oxford said: ‘These ERC awards are a strong endorsement of the quality and adventure of the research proposed by early and mid-career researchers across the University, in diverse subjects including demography, history, zoology, biology and chemistry.’

According to today’s ERC announcement, awards have been made to 327 researchers from European Union member states and associated countries from Iceland to Israel. There were more than 2,400 applications - and just 13% of applicants were awarded grants. Institutions in the UK and Germany won the most awards – 50 projects per country. Women won 37% of grants – the most since they have been awarded. The majority of awards (144) went to researchers in physical sciences and engineering.

Oxford’s eight winners, each awarded research funding of some €2 million, are:

Professor Andrew Baldwin. Chemistry, for biomolecular research.
Dr Alfredo Castello. Biochemistry, for a project into the role of RNA-binding proteins in virus infection.
Professor Jennifer Dowd. Sociology, for a project to understand reasons for stalling life expectancy in some countries
Dr John-Paul Ghobrial. History, for a study of mobile sectarianisms with the use of neglected family archives and papers of Middle Eastern migrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Professor Aris Katzourakis. Zoology, for a project into the evolutionary biology of viruses and their interactions with their hosts.
Dr Francesco Licausi. Plant Sciences, to apply the synthetic biology framework to study oxygen biology across eukaryotes, with a focus on plant cells.
Professor Susan Perkin. Chemistry, to study electrolytic materials ranging from battery electrolytes to the interior of halophilic organisms.
Professor Andrea Vedaldi. Engineering Science, who researches the methods of understanding images and videos without manual supervision. 

Notes for Editors

1. The ERC press release can be seen here
2. More details of the Oxford awards can be seen here.

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