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Cypriot among 312 top scientists to receive ERC funding

15 January, 2014

The European Research Council (ERC) has selected 312 top scientists in its first Consolidator Grant competition, among them the Cypriot scientist Constantinos Skordis.

A press release of the European Commission, issued on Tuesday, said that this new funding will enable the researchers to consolidate their own teams and to further develop their best ideas.

Projects selected include: using a geochemical clock to predict volcanic eruptions, exploring the effects of Dark Matter and Dark Energy on gravitational theory, checking responsibility, liability and risk in situations where tasks are delegated to intelligent systems, and investigating the role of genetic and environmental factors in embryo brain wiring.

Dr Skordis’ project, which is going to receive €1.2 million, tests the assumptions of the governing theory of gravity, Einstein’s General Relativity.

Dr Skordis and his team are exploring the effects of the Dark Sector and gravity on the evolution of the cosmos. The Dark Sector is made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. This ERC-funded research aims to test current paradigms further, and in the process to revise our knowledge of the Dark Sector.

Specifically, the TheMoDS project will work towards a more accurate assessment of Dark Matter and Dark Energy and attempt nothing less than a testing of gravitational theories against cosmological evidence.

Total funding in this round is €575 million, with an average awarded grant of €1.84 million, up to a maximum of €2.75 million.

In this call, grants are awarded to researchers of 33 different nationalities, hosted in institutions located in 21 different countries throughout Europe, with 9 of them hosting five grantees or more. In terms of host institutions, the UK (62 grants), Germany (43) and France (42) are in the lead. There are also researchers hosted at institutions in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Israel, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Turkey, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Norway. In terms of researchers` nationality Germans (48 grants) and Italians (46) are at the top, followed by French (33), British (31) and Dutch (27) researchers.

Over 3600 proposals were submitted to this first separate ERC Consolidator Grant competition.