UCD researchers are the most successful Irish based researchers in the latest round of European Research Council (ERC) ‘top-up’ funding or ‘Proof of Concept’ awards.

Two of the three Irish based researchers who were awarded one of the thirty-four grants announced by the ERC [today] are based at University College Dublin: Professor Frederic DiasUCD School of Mathematical Sciences; and Dr Debra LaeferUCD School of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

The two UCD researchers, who already hold ERC grants, have received up to €150,000 each to bring their pioneering ‘blue sky’ research closer to the market.

“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,” said EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

‘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.

In this call for funding, a total of 67 grants have now been awarded by the ERC – thirty-four announced [today] and thirty-three announced last September.

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).

The next call for proposals – ‘Proof of Concept’ 2014 – is currently open [to ERC grant holders] with a first deadline on 1 April 2014.