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The European Research Council has announced the winners of its latest Consolidator Grant competition. 301 top scientists and scholars across Europe, including two based in Luxembourg, received grants. The funding for these researchers, which is part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth €600 million in total.

 Luxinnovation, national contact point for Horizon 2020

As the national contact point for the European Horizon 2020 programme, Luxinnovation helped Nicolas Boscher and Paul Wilmes in their efforts to secure two ERC Consolidator Grants.

The process started with a bright idea and continued with a written proposal and an interview. The ERC received 2,453 research proposals this year, out of which only 12% will be funded. By receiving such a prestigious award, the two researchers placed Luxembourg among the top performing EU countries.

 2 million euros for the project ExpoBiome by Paul Wilmes…

 

Prof. Dr. Paul Wilmes

Prof. Dr. Paul Wilmes

Logo ExpoBiome ERCProf. Dr. Paul Wilmes, Head of the Eco-Systems Biology research group (Wilmes Lab) at the University of Luxembourg, has secured a Consolidator Grant for his project ExpoBiome. Other the next five years, he will expand his team to carry out research into the microbes and molecules that are generated in our guts and that might trigger critical disease processes leading for example to Parkinsons and rheumatoid arthritis, with the application of developing therapeutics and diagnostics.

“The guidance and support from the national contact point at Luxinnovation were second to none in navigating the ERC grant scheme”, explains Prof. Dr. Paul Wilmes about working together with Luxinnovation.

“I would recommend any future applicant to get in touch with them at a very early stage as they can offer all-important insights. It certainly is a very competitive resource within team Luxembourg which will help you to make it happen!”

… and 1.9 million for Nicolas Boscher and his CLEANH2 project.

Dr. Nicolas BOSCHER, researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), was awarded with the first ever ERC Consolidator grant of the institution by the European Research Council for his CLEANH2 project. The grant of €1.9 M will help the team to develop a new class of materials for the clean and efficient production of hydrogen.

Dr. Nicolas Boscher ERC

Dr. Nicolas Boscher

Nicolas BOSCHER attended the ERC info day held by Luxinnovation to provide applicants with inside knowledge on how to write and defend an excellent project proposal with good chances of success. To raise the level of the proposal, many partners and colleagues supported him, including Luxinnovation, LIST, the University of Luxembourg … The researcher looked back on his experience:

Successful ERC applications start from a bright, original and exciting idea” explains Dr. Nicolas Boscher.

“However, to be awarded an ERC grant, it is also essential to understand what makes a proposal successful. This should be done well before preparing your proposal as it helps you to plan your career and identify a clear set of goals.”

Nicolas Boscher started attending training events and information days in 2016. In particular, he attended an ERC Info Day organised by Luxinnovation during which members and chairs from different ERC panels, ERC awardees and ERC consultants shared their personal view on how to obtain an ERC grant.

“I then polished my research idea and started writing-up my proposal in November 2018, with a call deadline in February 2019.”

At this stage, M. Boscher had selected around 10 people from different background and different institutions (LIST, Luxinnovation, uni.lu, partners and consultants) to check his proposal and provide very valuable feedbacks as each person brought a unique perspective and expertise (questions on fundamental science, impact or implementation).

“I used the same strategy for step 2 of the evaluation with around 10 mock interviews with people from different institutions and on D-day, I was fully prepared and really enjoyed the ERC interview in Brussels.

Would you like to apply?

Researchers who would like to apply for an ERC Consolidator Grant have until 4 February 2020 to apply for the next round of funding.

Learn more about the ERC Consolidator Grant calls.

Luxinnovation is the National Contact Point for Horizon 2020, the European framework programme for research and innovation. Building on our decade-long experience of EU funding programmes, we are able to respond to questions on where to get up-to-date information on programmes and calls for project proposals, what programmes are the most suitable for you or where and how to find European partners.

Illustration: The gut microbiome and the molecules it produces. © Ella Maru Studio

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