Harnessing bionic silkworms for super-hard fibres, new treatment for chronic wounds based on medical inhalants, reverse-engineering of mediaeval building processes for restoration of Europe's architectural heritage. These are just some of the inventions made by ERC grantees who received additional funding to explore the innovation potential of their research.
The ERC has announced today the results of the third round of its 2015 Proof of Concept grant competition. Overall in three rounds of the competition, 135 ERC grantees benefited from this top-up funding scheme. 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.
EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas said: "There can be no sustainable environment for European innovation without scientific excellence. Proof of Concept grants help researchers bridge the divide between academia and the market. They support the frontier science that leads to innovation with real-life applications, creating new opportunities for European jobs and products."
ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon said: "We know that ERC grants stir the entrepreneurial spirit in the teams they support. This is exemplified by the interest shown by our grantees in the Proof of Concept funding, which the ERC Scientific Council has introduced to help develop innovative ideas into viable solutions dealing with societal and market needs. This adds one dimension to the ERC philosophy based on trust in researchers driven by scientific curiosity."
The awarded projects come from research covering wide range of topics in physical sciences and engineering, life sciences and social sciences and humanities. In 2015 the ERC received 339 applications for this additional funding and awarded grants worth €20 million.
The researchers selected in the competition are based in 17 countries across the Europe: United Kingdom (22), Spain (20), Netherlands (17), Germany (15), France (10), Sweden (9), Israel (8), Switzerland (8), Italy (7), Belgium (5), Austria (3), Denmark (3), Portugal (3), Greece (2), Cyprus (1), Finland (1), and Poland (1).