Groundbreaking University of Leicester research highlights strong engagement with European research community

Posted by ap507 at Mar 16, 2017 01:59 PM |
European Research Council’s 10th anniversary celebrated during ERC week between 13-17 March

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 16 March 2017

Groundbreaking research taking place at the University of Leicester has been highlighted as part of the European Research Council’s (ERC) 10th anniversary celebrations.

Researchers based at UK institutions won the largest share of mid-career and proof-of-concept grants handed out by the European Research Council in the latest awards rounds.

The news comes in the week that the European Research Council – a success story of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme – marks its tenth anniversary with ‘ERC week’ (13-17 March) and celebrates its impact on strengthening Europe as a global centre of excellence in research.

The University of Leicester is a part of that success story, having secured almost EUR 10 million of ERC funding since 2011 – highly prestigious awards given only to ‘frontier’ research projects.

ERC grant holders are in good company with some previous grant holders going on to win a Nobel Prize or to be awarded the Fields Medal.

UK-based researchers received a total of 58 grants in the latest Consolidator Grant round, equivalent to 18 per cent of the awards handed out. This was followed by 48 for researchers located in Germany, 43 in France and 29 in the Netherlands.

Ten of the 44 Proof-of-Concept grants awarded by the ERC on 31 January went to researchers who will work at UK universities. Germany and Spain will host the second and third most grantees with six and five recipients respectively. 

This is the third time that the UK has topped the Proof-of-Concept awards recipient list since it voted to leave the EU in June 2016. 

The University of Leicester’s ERC grant holders include:

  • Leigh Fletcher- Physics Consolidator Grant (2016) c. EUR 2 million.;
  • Richard Alexander - Physics Consolidator Grant (2015) c. EUR 2 million;
  • Clare Anderson - History Starting Grant  (2013) – c. EUR 1.5 million;
  • Laura Morales - Politics Starting Grant  (2011) – c. EUR 1.5 million
  • David Mattingly - Archaeology Advanced Grant (2011) – c. EUR 2.5 million.

You can find out a bit more about their groundbreaking research at the Research and Enterprise funding pages: 

Professor Iain Gillespie, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise commented: “We are very pleased to celebrate the achievements of our European Research Council (ERC) grant holders on the ten-year anniversary of the European Research Council scheme.

“These researchers epitomise leadership in world-class research, and we are proud that they also represent Leicester’s continuing, strong engagement with the European research community.”

Academic and research staff are reminded that the Treasury is continuing to financially underwrite UK participation in EU projects submitted before any official Brexit takes place. Funding awarded to UK organisations will be guaranteed for proposals submitted before an official exit, even if the resulting project continues beyond the UK's membership of the European Union.

For more information, contact Victoria Hayward, email:


Notes to editors:

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe.

The ERC is praised by the international scientific community for the quality of its evaluation system, for the scientific discoveries it funds, for the positive impact on global brain circulation, and for the prestige and autonomy it gives to researchers.

This label of excellence is also demonstrated by the agreements signed with the main national research agencies in the world (in the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and others) that allow their young researchers to visit ERC projects and contribute to their work.


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