European grants aid range of research

European research grants totalling more than €9m have been awarded to seven young Edinburgh academics.

Funding has been provided by the European Research Council’s Starting Grants programme.

The ERC initiative helps academics switch from working under supervision to leading their own independent research.

Research topics

The successful Edinburgh researchers will study a range of topics. These are particle physics, global health challenges, prostate and colorectal cancer treatment, 13th century theology, chemistry and metrology. 

ERC starting grants are invaluable as they allow researchers like myself to focus on in-depth research with colleagues from many international institutions.  All my research over the past ten years has been built on productive collaborations and solid friendships with colleagues across Europe.

Sotiria GrekSchool of Social and Political Science

New Generation

Selected researchers will build their own teams and will involve international experts, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students.

Academics with between two and seven years of experience following completion of their PhD are eligible for the award.

Two thirds of all ERC funding goes to early-career researchers. 

The ERC is unique in my field for offering funding to an individual at my career stage. It will enable me to build and equip my own research team. This will significantly help me complete the full research programme, allowing me to bring in people who have greater experience in other aspects of research.

Jennifer SmillieSchool of Physics and Astronomy

European Research Council Starting Grants

The awards are part of €485m worth of grants to 325 of Europe’s top early-career researchers.

The grants are worth approximately €1.5m over five years.  They are awarded to academics of any nationality based in, or willing to move to, Europe.

UK-based researchers account for 59 of the 325 grants, second only to Germany, which has 61. 

Edinburgh is and always will be a truly global university.  Our priority is to focus on stronger research and exchange partnerships across Europe.  This programme provides an opportunity for early-career researchers to collaborate with, and learn from, colleagues throughout Europe.”

“Such collaboration ensures we will continue to achieve extraordinary innovation and international impact from research.  We value hugely the work of our European staff and students who, together with our UK and international colleagues, make this University what it is today.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal of the University of Edinburgh

Starting Grants Recipients

The seven awards are spread across the University's three colleges. 

Grants were awarded to College of Science and Engineering researchers Jennifer Smillie (Physics and Astronomy) and Michael Cowley (Chemistry) and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science scholars Lydia Schumacher (Divinity), Sotiria Grek and Alice Street (Social and Political Science). 

Awards were also made to Bin-Zhi Qian (Clinical Sciences and MRC Centre for Reproductive Health) and Kevin Myant (Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences and Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre) from the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. 

European Research Funding

The University is currently involved in 91 Horizon 2020 projects with a value of €77.6m.

Edinburgh is the largest recipient of Horizon 2020 funding in Scotland and the fifth largest in the UK.

Horizon 2020 is the largest ever EU research and innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020).

In 2014-15, Edinburgh received £31.2 million from the European Commission.


Research Support Office

European Funding Team

ERC Starting Grants