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Portugal-based researchers secure record number of European Research Council grants

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2014 is turning out to be the best year ever for Portugal in European Research Council (ERC) calls: 15 researchers have, to date, secured global funding of €26 million, in six Starting Grants and nine Consolidator Grants.

Henrique Veiga Fernandes, Bruno Silva Santos and João Barata, all at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Cristina Silva Pereira, from the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Luís Moita, at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Vítor Cardoso at the Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon, Margarida Calafate Ribeiro and Helena Machado, both at the Centro de Estudos Sociais, and Isabel Ferreira, at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, have been awarded Consolidator Grants. These grants support top researchers that have seven to 12 years’ post-PhD experience. Each researcher will receive between 1.5 to €2.3 million, for a five-year period.

Megan Carey, of the Champalimaud Foundation, Ana Carvalho and Nuno Alves, both at the Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Raquel Oliveira, at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, and Ana Cecília Roque and Luís Pereira, at the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, will each receive €1.5 million as part of their Starting Grants. These grants support top researchers with two to seven years’ experience post-PhD.

Researchers in Portugal have been applying for the highly competitive ERC grants since 2007, having secured 49 grants: two in 2007; one in 2008; four in 2009; seven in 2010; two in 2011; nine in 2012 and 2013 and 15 in 2014.

ERC funding recognises international excellence of selected projects. The growing success of researchers in Portugal reveal the increasing quality, maturity and competitiveness of the country’s research teams and centres.