The European Research Council awards 33.3 million euros to 23 researchers from Spanish centres

Minister council - 10.1.2022

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 33.3 million euros in grants to 23 projects by researchers at Spanish centres through the Starting Grant 2021 call for proposals. This programme is intended for the creation of independent research groups whose lead investigator has held a PhD for between two and seven years and whose research activity is at the forefront of knowledge in any subject.

Starting Grant 2021 is the first call for proposals under Horizon Europe, the EU's R&D programme. In total, this call will distribute 619 million euros to 397 excellent projects devised by scientists. These grants will help young researchers launch their own projects at the forefront of knowledge and to set up their own research teams.

The grants are distributed among 22 Member States and partner countries. Spain is the fifth EU country in terms of aid, with a total return of 7.54%. The list is headed by Germany with 72 grants and France with 53. The Starting Grant 2021 call received 4,056 proposals, an increase of 24% in requests compared to the 2020 call. Of these, 9.9% of requests have been funded.

The researchers who have obtained a Starting Grant 2021 at centres in Spain are:

  • Geert Mesters, from Pompeu Fabra University.
  • Enrique Hernández, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
  • Maria Rodo Zarate, from the University of Barcelona.
  • Elisabetta Aurino, from Pompeu Fabra University.
  • Konstantina Kilteni, from Pompeu Fabra University.
  • Gemma Cirac-Claveras, from Pompeu Fabra University.
  • Amaia Arranz Otaegui, from the University of the Basque Country.
  • Michael Toffolo from the National Research Centre on Human Evolution.
  • Marta Olazabal, from the Basque Centre for Climate Change.
  • Francesc Monrabal, from the Donostia International Physics Center Foundation.
  • Irene Valenzuela, from the Autonomous University of Madrid.
  • José J. Baldoví, from the University of Valencia.
  • Niki Vazou, from the IMDEA Foundation.
  • Asier Marzo, from the Public University of Navarra.
  • Marcos Latorre, from the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
  • Lluis Jofre Cruanyes, from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
  • Nadejda Blagorodnova Mujortova, from the University of Barcelona.
  • Cristina Mayor-Ruiz, from the Fundació Institut de Recerca Biomédica.
  • Lars Velten, from the Fundació Centre de Regulació Genòmica.
  • Eva Novoa, from the Fundació Centre de Regulació Genòmica.
  • Alejo Rodriguez Fraticelli, from the Fundació Institut de Recerca Biomédica.
  • Renee Beekman, from the Fundació Centre de Regulació Genòmica.
  • Susana Velasco, from the University of Zaragoza.

Involvement of women

In the Starting Grant 2021 call, female researchers lead 43% of the projects. Their success rate is 10.8% compared to 9.3% for male researchers, as approximately 40% of the proposals were submitted by female researchers. This is the highest involvement of female scientists to date.

In Spain, 12 of the 23 projects selected will be led by women. This represents 52.7% of the projects, a higher percentage than the overall call for proposals, which is 43%.

Non-partner countries

The statistics and the final composition of the lists of successful proposals are provisional. Following the termination of the exploratory talks, Switzerland is considered a non-partner third country. As a result, host institutions established in Switzerland are not eligible for funding. Exceptionally for the Starting Grant 2021 and Consolidator Grant 2021 calls, as they were already closed before the end of the negotiations between the EU and Switzerland, proposals submitted with Swiss host institutions and which have been selected for funding may remain eligible if their host institution is replaced by a legal entity established in an eligible country.

In addition, successful applicants established in a country in the process of association to Horizon Europe will not be treated as established in an associated country if the association agreement does not apply at the time of signing the grant agreement.

Upcoming Starting Grant calls

The Starting Grant 2022 call is currently open and will close on 13 January. This call has a budget of 749 million euros.

Non official translation