Universiteit Leiden

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European Research Council: ten years of leading research

The European Research council (ERC) was founded ten years ago today. The ERC is an important agency for research funding, including to Leiden University.

The ERC awards subsidies for curiosity-driven research, across all fields of study and to research groups throughout the whole of Europe. In the ten years of the ERC's existence, almost 600 eminent researchers in the Netherlands have received a subsidy, amounting to a total of a billion euros. Leiden University has received a large share of the subsidies - a total of 50 awards - the fifth largest number in the Netherlands.

ERC chairman Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon expressed his appreciation for all the different research projects and for the leading researchers who have conducted research funded by an ERC subsidy. 'Their efforts have meant something positive for thousands of people throughout Europe. ERC subsidies have led to many scientific breakthroughs, such as the recent discovery of a series of planets outside our solar system that could support life. And there are countless other examples that show that the ERC is fulfilling its mandate of making Europe the place for the world's best brains.’

The European Research Council is a prominent part of Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation. The ERC was set up in 2007 by the EU to fund exceptional researchers and their ideas. Research institutes in the whole of Europe will be focusing attention in the coming week on ten years of the ERC.  Read more on the website of the ERC.

The ERC in the Netherlands – facts and figures

  • 1 billion euros – total value of ERC subsidies in the Netherlands;
  • 593 subsidies, including 420 for researchers at the start of their career or in mid-career;
  • 181 non-Dutch recipients of ERC subsidies work in Dutch host institutions;
  • 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Professor Ben Feringa at the University of Groningen, also previously the recipient of an ERC subsidy;
  • Top institutions with the most ERC subsidies:
    University of Amsterdam (71 subsidies), Delft Technical University (56), Radboud University Nijmegen (56), Utrecht University (56), Leiden University (50).