• The latest round of ERC ´Proof of Concept´ Grants will further support existing ERC grant holders to advance research aimed at tackling important societal challenges.

• In this second round of the call, ERC ´Proof of Concept´ top-up funding has been awarded to 120 researchers across 15 different European countries, totaling €18 million.

Barcelona, 05 February 2015.– The European Research Council´s (ERC) Proof of Concept funding is awarded to European researchers with an entrepreneurial mind-set and consequent dedication to driving science towards innovative applications to address key issues impacting on society. In this second round of the call, ERC has once again backed pioneering research led by Joan Seoane, Director of Translational Research, and Principal Investigator of the Gene Expression and Cancer Group at the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO).

More specifically, this top-up funding will fuel research into the development of a more effective and safer therapeutic antibody for cancer treatment with a dual mechanism of action to thwart cancer stem cells (CSCs) and reactivate the host immune response against cancer. Specializing in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and aggressive of all brain tumors, Joan´s research, thanks to an earlier project funded by ERC in 2009, has already made important contributions in developing more precise and effective anti-cancer therapies.

Commenting on the results of the Call, Joan observes, “This ERC funding represents invaluable support in ultimately enabling us to translate cancer discovery at preclinical level into real benefit for patients. Only with such backing and belief in our research will we be able to develop more effective and targeted anti-cancer therapies”.

In this latest ERC ´Proof of Concept´ competition, receiving 442 submitted applications (a 51% increase compared to the previous call), a total of 120 researchers in 15 countries are being funded; 8 of whom are from Spanish research institutes, with 6 from Catalonia. With the final 59 researchers announced today, the budget for the whole call totals at €18 million.

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Background:

Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run five-year-projects based in Europe. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. To date, the ERC has funded more than 4,500 top researchers at various stages of their careers. Under the new EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, the ERC has a considerably increased budget of over €13 billion.

The ERC funds young, early-career top researchers (‘ERC Starting grants’), already independent excellent scientists (‘ERC Consolidator Grants’), and senior research leaders (‘ERC Advanced Grants’). The substantial funding is awarded based on peer review evaluation and can be up to €2 million for a Starting Grant, €2.75 million for a Consolidator Grant and €3.5 million for an Advanced Grant.

The funding scheme ‘Proof of Concept’ was introduced in 2011 as top-up funding for ERC grantees to contribute to stimulating innovation. A single grant can be worth up to €150,000. The call is reserved to all researchers benefitting from an on-going ERC grant or recently completed. The funding is for up to 18 months per project. The next call for proposals – ‘Proof of Concept’ 2015 – is currently open with rounds of funding closing today, on 28 May and on 1 October 2015.

According to the new rules, ERC grantees can apply only for one of the three rounds in this call.
The ERC consists of an independent governing body, the Scientific Council, and an implementing body, the Executive Agency. The ERC President is Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon who took office in January 2014.

Links:

List (second round) of the 59 winners (by country of host institution)

List (entire call) of all 120 winners by country of host institution

ERC website