Go back

Poor showing for Eastern Europe in latest ERC starting grants

Just four of the 536 starting grants awarded by the European Research Council this week to early-career researchers will go to researchers based in Eastern European countries, ERC data shows.

Hungary will host the winners of two grants, while Poland and Slovakia each will host one. The countries hosting the most grantees are the UK, Germany and France who have led the field in hosting ERC grantees since the launch of the organisation in 2007.

Of the selected proposals, 44 per cent were in physical science and engineering, 37 per cent were in life sciences, and 19 per cent were in social sciences and humanities. Among the awardees, 24 per cent were women, a slight increase compared to last year’s 21 per cent.

The number of applications for starting grants, which are awarded to early-career researchers, increased 16 per cent from last year. This could add to concerns by some observers that the ERC success rates are at risk of falling. But the ERC president Helga Nowotny said these developments are positive.

“The latest round of starting grants saw yet another increase in applications submitted by many bright young people from all over Europe,” she said. “We are […] reassured that the ERC starting grant is far from having reached saturation.”

An increase in the organisation’s budget will also contribute to keeping success rates level. The ERC awarded close to €800 million in this year’s Starting Grants, compared to €670m in 2011, an increase of 19 per cent.

The grants are available to researchers of any nationality who are based in or willing to move to Europe. Each award is worth up to €2m and lasts five years.