Four Cambridge researchers awarded European Research Council Advanced Grants


The funding will enable these researchers to explore their most innovative and ambitious ideas.

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the award of 218 Advanced Grants to outstanding research leaders across Europe, as part of the Horizon Europe programme.

The grants, totalling 544 million, support cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields from medicine and physics to social sciences and humanities.

The ERC is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. The ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive EU funding schemes, providing researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. Grants are awarded to established, leading researchers with a proven track record of significant research achievements over the past decade.

The University of Cambridge’s grant awardees are:

Anna Korhonen, Professor of Natural Language Processing in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, for her project Towards Globally Equitable Language Technologies.

Richard Nickl, Professor of Mathematical Statistics in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, for his project Statistical aspects of non-linear inverse problems.

Peter Sewell, Professor of Computer Science at the Computer Laboratory, for his project Secure Foundations: Verified Systems Software Above Full-Scale Integrated Semantics.

Sujit Sivasundaram, Professor of World History at the Faculty of History, for his project Colombo: Layered Histories in the Global South City.

"This funding puts our 218 research leaders, together with their teams of postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and research staff, in pole position to push back the boundaries of our knowledge, break new ground and build foundations for future growth and prosperity in Europe,- said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

"These new ERC Advanced Grantees are a testament to the outstanding quality of research carried out across Europe. I am especially pleased to see such a high number of female researchers in this competition and that they are increasingly successful in securing funding. We look forward to seeing the results of the new projects in the years to come, with many likely to lead to breakthroughs and new advances,- said Maria Leptin, ERC President.

The laureates of this grant competition will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 20 countries in Europe, with the highest number of projects in Germany (37), the UK (35), France (32) and Spain (16). The winners come from all over the world, with 27 nationalities represented, notably Germans (36 researchers), French (32), Italians (21), British (19).

This call for proposals attracted nearly 1,650 applications, which were reviewed by panels of renowned researchers. The overall success rate was 13.2%. Female researchers account for 23% of all applications, their highest participation rate in Advanced Grant calls up to now.

In addition to strengthening Europe’s knowledge base, the grants are expected to create more than 2,000 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and other staff at the host institutions. Past recipients have included Nobel laureates and other leading scientists who have gone on to make major contributions to their respective fields.

The statistics and final list of successful candidates are provisional. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom allows for associating the UK to the current EU research and innovation funding programme, Horizon Europe, subject to the adoption of a Protocol. As this Protocol has not been adopted so far, the UK is still considered -non-associated- to Horizon Europe. The successful proposals of applicants based in a country in the process of associating to Horizon Europe will be eligible for funding only if the relevant Horizon Europe association agreement applies by the time of the signature of the grant agreement. However, successful applicants from UK host institutions can still be funded, provided that they move to a host institution.

Adapted from a press release by the ERC.