50 ERC Proof of Concept grant winners announced
Today, 50 winners of an innovation grant competition from the European Research Council (ERC) have been announced. The so-called "Proof of Concept" grants, each worth up to €150,000, are dedicated to researchers that want to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation. The researchers will now investigate business opportunities, establish intellectual property rights or conduct technical validation to proof their scientific concept. The awarded projects cover a variety of topics: a promising advance in the development of a universal flu vaccine, an atlas of the human sub-cortex for deep brain stimulation of people suffering Parkinson's and other neurological diseases, a new environment-friendly process to produce menthol, and deep learning algorithms for the automatic detection of fake news (see more project examples).
The new grants were awarded to researchers working in 12 countries: Austria (2 grants), Finland (3), Germany (7), Ireland (1), Israel (8), Italy (3), Netherlands (3), Norway (1), Spain (5), Sweden (3), Switzerland (3) and the UK (11). The grant scheme is only open to ERC grantees. They can apply for funding in one of the three rounds of the call every year. The 50 winners announced today were selected in the first round of 2018, in which the ERC evaluated 114 applications. The budget of the whole 2018 competition is €20 million.
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