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UCL excels in securing EU research funding

17 February 2016

UCL has retained and strengthened its position as the top performing university in Europe in the major EU funding scheme Horizon 2020, securing more than €103 million so far.

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In another significant funding success, UCL researchers have recently been awarded nine highly prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants, totalling around €15 million and placing the university as the second-placed higher education institution in Europe for number of grant awards under this scheme.

UCL has also been awarded 27 Marie Curie International Fellowships, worth around €6 million.

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with €79 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020).  UCL’s success rates in applying for funding have averaged three times – and in some places six times – the EU average.  Independent analysis shows UK universities leading the way in terms of securing funding, with UCL in top position. Other universities identified as Horizon 2020 ‘champions’ include Cambridge, Imperial College London and Oxford.

UCL has been awarded 10 grants, and is coordinating 5, from the most recent Horizon 2020 round “Personalising Health and Care”. UCL performed exceptionally well in Health funded research – winning 5 of the 13 grants awarded to the UK and 50% of the coordinated grants awarded to Europe in rare diseases.

Coordinating grants were awarded to:

  • Professor Xavier Golay (UCL Institute of Neurology)
  • Professor Bobby Gaspar (UCL Institute of Child Health)
  • Professor Paolo De Coppi (UCL Institute of Child Health)
  • Dr Sara Mole (UCL MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology)
  • Professor Daniel Alexander (UCL Computer Science)

ERC Consolidator Grants

ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded annually to researchers who are developing or seeking to strengthen new independent research teams or programmes.

Three of UCL’s nine grants were awarded to researchers in UCL Economics, representing 25% of the total number of these grants awarded to economics researchers across Europe.

Grants were awarded to:

  • Professor Vasiliki Skreta (UCL Economics)
  • Professor Pedro Carneiro (UCL Economics)
  • Professor Raffaella Giacomini (UCL Economics)
  • Professor Sofia Olhede (UCL Statistical Science)
  • Dr Stephen Hogan (UCL Physics & Astronomy)      
  • Professor Jochen Blumberger (UCL Physics & Astronomy)
  • Dr Philip Pogge Von Strandmann (UCL Earth Sciences)
  • Professor Judith Mank (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment)
  • Professor Carey Jewitt (UCL Institute of Education)

Commenting on the recent successes, Michael Browne, Head of European Research & Innovation (UCL European Research & Innovation Office), said: “Having specialist research and innovation support services in place to complement UCL's excellent research base has been key to recent successes. EU-funded research is more competitive than ever (success rates are around 10%), so it's essential to understand the ingredients needed for success and to have the infrastructure in place to enable excellent researchers to succeed in what is a highly competitive and prestigious environment.”

Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research), commented: “I am delighted by the successes colleagues have achieved in these calls. Engagement in EU-funded research spans all faculties, demonstrating excellence and breadth across our research base. Our collaborative ethos means we are exceptionally well-placed to be a partner and coordinator in these initiatives and our scale means we are able to have a specialist team to support applications, resulting in both a better experience for our applicants and a competitive advantage.

“This achievement is a reminder of how critical it is for the UK to remain engaged with the EU, through which funding is distributed on the basis of research excellence. This allows leading UK universities to attract substantial resources and the most promising international researchers, as well as furthering our international collaborations and outlook.”

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