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ERC celebrates 5,000th top researcher funded

Eight years after its launch, the European Research Council (ERC) is celebrating a significant milestone: the funding of its 5,000th researcher. To mark this occasion, a debate in the European Parliament and a symbolic awarding of the grant will take place today (16 June) in Brussels.
Jun 16th 2015

The 5000th grantee, Dr Iva Tolić, is a leading Croatian cell biophysicist. An ERC Consolidator Grant will allow her to study the forces acting on the chromosomes during cell division. Her research could be critical for the development of new therapies against cancer.

ERC celebrates 5,000th top researcher funded

Dr Tolić will carry out her project at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb. After receiving the news, she commented: "This ERC grant will make a big difference to me professionally. It will allow me to establish my new lab in Croatia, hire six team members and buy a state-of-the-art microscope. For the next five years, I will be able to focus purely on my research. I am very happy to be the 5000th ERC grantee."

The celebration of the 5000th ERC grantee will take place today in Brussels through a series of events. Invited by the European Parliament (EP), the ERC will take part in an exchange of views in the EP's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) at 17.00 (JAN Building, room 4Q2), where ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon will address the Committee. The 5000th grantee, Dr Iva Tolić, as well as another ERC grantee, Prof. Nicola Pugno, will highlight what the ERC funding means for researchers.

The ERC will also be present with a booth in the European Parliament from 15 to 17 June (Spinelli building, Forum area, 3rd floor), where ERC-funded research will be showcased. There will be a photo opportunity at the booth today at 14.00 with the EP ITRE Committee Chair, Jerzy Buzek, ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and the ERC-funded robot Poppy.

In addition, a festive grant signing ceremony will take place this evening, with high-level speakers, as well as ERC grantees.

Congratulations to Dr Tolić. Her research on cell division, a core process for life, promises to push the boundaries of cell and molecular biology and c...

Congratulations to Dr Tolić. Her research on cell division, a core process for life, promises to push the boundaries of cell and molecular biology and could be critical for the development of new therapies against cancer. Discover her ERC project here: bit.ly/1Sh4wo7#ERC5000

On this occasion, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, who will speak at the signing ceremony, said: "I am honoured and proud to take part in the celebration of this milestone with the ERC, an organisation open to top talent from around the world, regardless of nationality, gender and age. The ERC is the best example that investing in excellent scientists pays off, as their research is crucial for boosting innovation, stimulating the economy and improving our daily lives. Congratulations to the grantee Iva Tolić; a shining example of a bright researcher whose project holds promises in the field of cancer research."

ITRE Committee Chair Jerzy Buzek stated: "It is indeed very encouraging to meet the 5000th ERC funded researcher and hear her experiences on what this grant means to her. The ITRE committee has worked very hard to secure the money earmarked for researchers, both via the European Research Council and other parts of Horizon 2020. I hope this grant will allow Dr Tolić to focus completely  on  her  research  project  at  the  Ruđer  Bošković  Institute.  EU's  future  depends  on researchers like herself."

ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon commented: "With this symbolic 5000th grant, the ERC is marking what it has achieved so far. Looking to the future, the ERC's mission will remain unchanged - funding frontier research ideas coming from scientists selected solely on scientific quality. But the ERC also has challenges ahead: we wish to see more ERC-funded researches in the newer EU Members States and more female grantees. The ERC must contribute even more decisively to making Europe a magnet for top talent."

Source: ERC Press Release.

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