Return of multi-million-euro ERC grants confirmed (interview on Research Europe)

re Interview on Research Europe  by Craig Nicholson

[….]

ERC president Jean-Pierre Bourguignon told MEPs on 8 November that the grants are intended to allow researchers working across different disciplines to tackle “exceptionally challenging” problems. When the grants were previously run in 2013, several proposals won close to €15 million—far more than the current €2.5m ceiling for ERC awards. […]

However, others have said that such large grants are inappropriate for many theoretical fields of research, and that the ERC should provide smaller grants to improve success rates and even out funding allocations across Europe. “It’s not the right way to distribute money, especially at this time when there are very large imbalances in the distribution of money between countries,” said Francesco Sylos Labini, a theoretical physicist at the Enrico Fermi Centre in Rome. “The ERC is becoming for researchers what rankings are for universities: a fake classification of quality.”

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