Dr Marc Veldhoen, a Group Leader at the Babraham Institute, has been awarded a prestigious grant by the European Research Council (ERC). His €1.5M award from the ERC will enable further investigation into understanding how cells of the immune system interact with microbes in the gut to influence immunity, metabolism and potentially safeguard the gut from inflammatory disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The ERC is supporting around 480 early-career researchers over the coming five years with grants worth up to €2 million each. In this fourth 'ERC Starting Grant' competition, just over €670 million has been allocated to top talent to carry out their pioneering research in any domain throughout Europe.
Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn commented, "ERC grants are now highly coveted in the research community, not least among younger researchers who often struggle to find funding. I am committed to ensuring that the ERC can continue funding the "cream of the crop". This helps make Europe more competitive on the world stage and contributes to making the Innovation Union a reality."
The Babraham Institute, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), undertakes world-leading life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Professor Michael Wakelam, Babraham’s Director said, “We are delighted that Marc’s research has been recognised by the ERC. It will enable further work to be conducted into the mechanisms behind intestinal inflammation, which is of direct relevance to promoting a healthier lifespan, supporting BBSRC’s mission to drive advances in fundamental bioscience for better health and wellbeing.”
With a success rate of only 12% the number of applicants increased by 42% to over 4000 in 2011. ERC President Prof. Helga Nowotny said, "The marked increase in applications does not come as a surprise. It confirms that demand for ERC funding continues unabatedly and I can confirm that the scientific quality remains extremely high. We need to continue to invest in our brightest talent, notably in these times of economic crisis, as they are key to Europe’s future prosperity. So far, the ERC has supported over 2200 frontier researchers and their ground-breaking work in Europe, and many of these projects are starting to bear fruit. The focus of our next efforts will be on attracting more top talent from overseas."
Dr Claire Cockcroft
Head, External Relations
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The Babraham Institute
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Notes to Editors:
The Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), undertakes international quality life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. The institute received £22.4M investment from BBSRC in 2010-11. The Institute’s research provides greater understanding of the biological events that underlie the normal functions of cells and the implication of failure or abnormalities in these processes. Research focuses on signalling and genome regulation, particularly the interplay between the two and how epigenetic signals can influence important physiological adaptations during the lifespan of an organism. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and healthier ageing. (www.babraham.ac.uk)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes
About the European Research Council
Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. It funds both senior research leaders ('ERC Advanced Grants') and younger, early-career top researchers ('ERC Starting Grants'). The substantial funding is awarded based on peer review evaluation and can amount to max. €2 million for a 'Starting Grant' and €3.5 million for an 'Advanced Grant'. http://erc.europa.eu
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