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Proof of Concept: ERC awards grants for innovation

22.9.2017 | Fifty-one ERC grant holders receive top-up funding to explore the commercial or innovation potential of the results of their EU-funded frontier research. Among them are five AcademiaNet members.

The European Research Council (ERC) has selected 51 innovative projects it had previously supported with a grant to provide its holders with additional funds to develop the results of their labour into marketable products. The Proof of Concept grants, worth €150,000 each, can be used, for example, to establish intellectual property rights, investigate business opportunities or conduct technical validation. The awarded projects cover a variety of topics, ranging from a new health therapies, to creating detailed 3D maps of forest structures, to an ocean surveillance model for fish conservation.

Among the 51 recipients of the funds were also five AcademiaNet members – four of them chemists, and one a material scientist.

Physical chemist Sofia Calero from the Pablo de Olavide University in Spain received a grant for her project on optimising Zeolites – microporous minerals that are used as adsorbents and catalysts. Materials chemist Maarit Karppinen (Aalto University, Finland) was awarded the price for her research on flexible 3D thin-film microbatteries. Biochemist Edit Tshuva's work, which she is conducting at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Isreal, was also among the selected projects. She is developing metal-based anticancer-drugs with optimised solubility and toxicology profiles. Paola Ceroni (University of Bologna, Italy), a chemist specialising on photochemistry, received the award for her studies in luminescent silicon nanocrystals, which she hopes to incorporate in bioimaging systems. Last but not least, material scientist Judith Driscoll was funded for her work on energy efficient materials and portable power.

With its Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation. The budget of the overall 2017 Proof of Concept competition is €20 million. ECR grantees can apply for funding in three rounds of the call. In this second round, the ERC evaluated 139 applications, of which nearly 37 percent were successful.

  (© ERC / AcademiaNet)

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