Major European starting grants awarded

Dr Alice Hutchings. Image: CSaP / Kimi Gill

Six Cambridge researchers are among the latest recipients of European Union awards given to early-career academics.

The European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants for 2020 have been awarded to 436 researchers from across Europe. The awards will help individual researchers to build their own teams and conduct world-leading research across all disciplines, creating an estimated 2,500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions.

The successful Cambridge researchers are:

  • Guy Jacobs for Movement networks and genetic evolution among tropical hunter-gatherers of island Southeast Asia
  • Luca Magri for Physics-constrained adaptive learning for multiphysics optimization
  • Amanda Prorok for Scalable Co-optimization of Collective Robotic Mobility and the Artificial Environment

The ERC-funded research will be carried out in 25 countries across Europe, with institutions from Germany (88 grants), the UK (62), the Netherlands (42) and France (38) to host the highest number of projects. The grants, worth in total €677 million, are part of the EU Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:  “With European Research Council grants, the EU is leveraging the talent and curiosity of some of the best young researchers in Europe. Their ideas are set to break fresh ground and open new ways to deal with pressing challenges in the areas of health, energy and digital technologies, as well as many other fields. Our ambition to effectively tackle current and future crises depends on our strong will to continuously and increasingly support top research at the frontiers of our knowledge.”

President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, added:  “The present health crisis showed that despite spectacular progress in research over the past decades, there still remain plenty of unsolved scientific mysteries, as well as lessons to be learnt from the past. Therefore, the best strategy to tackle it is to enable some of the brightest minds to pursue their most innovative ideas, in order to create opportunities for serendipitous discoveries. This is what the European Research Council is for. It’s clear that, if Europe is to be competitive globally, it needs to give excellent prospects to the next generation of researchers as these ERC Starting Grants do, and to invest much more in top blue sky research.”

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Image: Dr Alice Hutchings. Credit: CSaP / Kimi Gill

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge



The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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