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Belgium : EU funding helps bridge gap between 'blue sky' research and the market.

'Blue sky basic science is focused on advancing knowledge, but it can sometimes generate unexpected applications. That is why the European Research Council (ERC) provides top-up funding, 'Proof of Concept', for its grant holders to bring their pioneering work closer to market. The final results of the latest grant competition for this funding were announced today: a total of 67 leading researchers, who already hold ERC grants, have received up to 150,000 each. The projects cover everything from an exploration of the molecular foundations of psychiatric disorders to technological innovations that could help rescue skiers caught in avalanches, or measure extreme waves (more information on projects here).

EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science MEiire Geoghegan-Quinn said: The funding announced today will help turn ideas into innovation. The ERC Proof of Concept grants encourage a new type of thinking amongst researchers, backing them to make the most of their blue sky research. This mindset will help European recovery and improve our quality of life.

The Proof of Concept funding can cover activities aimed at commercial and societal applications, such as establishing intellectual property rights, investigating commercial and business opportunities or technical validation.

In this call, a total of 67 grants have now been awarded, of which the final 34 were made public today -the first 33 grants were announced in September 2013-. In this second round of funding, grants go to researchers in 13 countries across the European Research Area: the Netherlands (5), Germany (4), the United Kingdom (4), Ireland (3), Israel (3), Spain (3), Switzerland (3), Belgium (2), France (2), Sweden (2), Denmark (1), Finland (1) and Italy (1). Amongst the winners is Professor Ada Yonath, a Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry (2009), who since 2012 has worked on a project funded through an ERC Advanced Grant.

A total of 147 proposals were submitted to this second round of the call. The budget of the entire call is 10 million, of which nearly 5 million is earmarked for this second round. The next call for proposals - 'Proof of Concept' 2014 is currently open (to ERC grant holders) with a first deadline on 1 April 2014.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Feb 7, 2014
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