Fifty-five grantees of the European Research Council (ERC) have been awarded Proof of Concept funding to explore the commercial or societal potential of their research results.
The grants are part of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.
The awarded projects cover a variety of topics e.g., making gecko-inspired gripping technology to help automate the assembly of products with tiny parts, tapping into the international digital music market by producing song word metadata for playlist generators, and enhancing the safety of live vaccines for mosquito-transmitted viruses.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Research can be revolutionary in generating new knowledge, but facilitating the transfer of this knowledge to the economy and society can be difficult. The EU is here to help bridge the gap.”
Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who has just been re-appointed ERC President, commented: “I am pleased that one of my very first acts back at the helm of ERC is to announce a new round of funding call results, showing that the pandemic has not altered the efficient functioning of the ERC. Proof of Concept grants help ERC-funded researchers move their ground-breaking results towards commercial or social innovation. Curiosity-led research is a key ingredient to feed innovation, something which Europe needs more of.”
Proof of Concept (PoC) grants, worth €150,000 each, is top-up funding that can be used for example to explore business opportunities, prepare patent applications or verify the practical viability of scientific concepts.
The new grants were awarded to researchers working in 11 countries: Austria (1 grant), Belgium (6), Germany (8), France (8), Israel (2), Italy (5), Netherlands (7), Spain (6), Sweden (2), Switzerland (2) and the UK (8).
Over 1000 researchers have received PoC funding since 2011. The grant scheme is only open to researchers who are or have been previously funded by the ERC. They can apply for funding in one of the three rounds of the call every year, and the final deadline in 2020 is 17 September.
Tuesday’s announcement concerns the results of the second round in 2020, in which the ERC evaluated 172 applications. The budget for the whole 2020 competition is €25 million.