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European Research Council: 10 years of support for world-class research

​CEA has hosted nearly 85 projects funded by the very selective European Research Council (ERC) since its creation in 2007. Led by top world-class researchers, ERC projects contribute to advancing knowledge with fundamental and technological research. 

Published on 16 March 2017

​The ERC marks its tenth anniversary this year and has chosen the week of March 13-20, 2017 to highlight the scientists and research projects that it supports.

In France, CEA is among the top three organizations hosting the most ERC recipients. So far, 85 ERC projects have been conducted or are underway, including 82 in CEA's Fundamental Research Division (DRF) in the fields of physics, engineering and life sciences, and three at CEA Tech, the division responsible for technological research.

Of all of DRF's projects funded by ERC, eight have received supplemental ERC Proof Of Concept (POC) funding for transferring the results of research to technology applications. It's real proof that extremely ambitious fundamental research produces innovations of interest to business and startups," explains Vincent Berger, CEA Director of Fundamental Research.

Other projects are conducted directly in the laboratories of CEA's Technological Research Division (CEA Tech).

"Since 2009, three projects have been selected in communication systems engineering. This encouraging result must be developed and motivate future exploratory research projects to set up in a technological environment like ours," notes Stéphane Siebert, Director of CEA Tech.

Since its launch in 2007, ERC has become a label for all researchers seeking independence and a real leadership role in their discipline.

CEA's ERC projects are a recognition of the excellence of its teams in scientific fields as varied as lasers, spintronics and cognitive phenomena in the neurosciences. The diversity of these projects, which mainly concern fundamental research approaches, but also focus on technology maturation, demonstrates the wide expertise of CEA's scientific staff. Their objective is to advance knowledge and transform scientific discoveries into innovative products and services with economic value and which meet the needs of society.

About the ERC: The mission of the European Research Council (ERC) is to support top exploratory research in Europe with very competitive calls for projects and selective funding. ERC's bottom-up type of research encourages initiative by researchers from all scientific fields. The quality and originality of an idea is more important than the subject field. The objective is to encourage scientific discovery and new technologies that will create new markets and jobs, as well as innovations that will benefit society. Over several years, the projects receive significant funding awarded individually to researchers, who are selected in an international competition by top-notch scientists

ERC grants at CEA

  • Some 85 projects have been hosted in laboratories of CEA or joint research units involving CEA since 2007.
  • Of these, 52 are underway in CEA laboratories, either at a host CEA institution or a host institution of another organization that is a member of a joint research unit. 
  • Eight ERC projects at CEA have received additional ERC Proof of Concept funding for using the results of the initial projects with high potential for innovation.
  • The main research fields include fundamental components of matter, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, communication systems engineering, neurosciences and cognition, structural biology and therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

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