Science and Technology

Ten years promoting cutting-edge research

On the occasion of the ERC’s 10th anniversary we talked with the project leaders who received an ERC Grant.

The European Research Council (ERC) celebrates its 10th anniversary across Europe. Special ERC events will take place within “the ERC week”. We joined the celebrations and talked with ERC Grant holders at Técnico.

Luís Oliveira e Silva, professor at the Department of Physics and president of the Scientific Council at Técnico, received two ERC Advanced Grants in 2010 and 2016. According to the researcher, these grants are very important because “they give the researcher almost total freedom and a long-term stability allowing to explore new ideas, with high risk, but with potential for major breakthroughs in science and technology”, he said.

Vítor Cardoso, professor and researcher at Multidisciplinary Centre for Astrpphysics (CENTRA), Department of Physics, received an ERC Starting Grant (2010) and ERC Consolidator Grant (2015). “Cutting-edge science depends on stable projects with less bureaucracy”, he pointed out. According to professor Vítor Cardoso, being awarded with these grants is a privilege and a recognition for outstanding research, providing visibility and financial stability to the projects. “It’s worth thinking about science and the world around us. It’s worth supporting those who contribute for that”, said professor Vítor Cardoso.

The first ERC Starting Grant in the field of Mathematics was awarded to professor Patrícia Gonçalves, for her work on Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes. “What I appreciate most about this ERC Grant is the possibility of choosing the best candidates to develop research activities focused on the topics of my project over the next 5 years”, she said.

In 2012, professor Rodrigo Rodrigues earned an ERC Starting Grant for his work on cloud computing. The professor of Information Systems and Computer Engineering believes that this programme “allows to carry out high-risk, but large potential projects” and that “it’s essential to attract talents to Europe”.

According to professor Vítor Cardoso “it is not a coincidence that Técnico researchers have already received 6 ERC Grants”, because “Técnico research quality is unquestionable”.

Over the past ten years, about 7.000 top researchers have been supported by ERC Grants for their groundbreaking research. ERC was created in 2007, aiming to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence.