UCL News


Three UCL academics awarded European Research Council grants

1 April 2020

Three senior UCL researchers have been awarded European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants, worth €7.35m, to develop their research projects.

ERC grant

Professor Jonathan Tennyson (UCL Physics & Astronomy). His project is entitled “ExoMoIHD: Precision spectroscopic data for studies of exoplanets and other hot atmospheres.” The project aims to provide data to enable astronomers to analyse the atmosphere of planets orbiting other stars, to better understand their composition.

Professor Lucia Michelutti (UCL Anthropology). Her project is entitled “Anthropologies of Extortion” and explores how concepts of extortion have expanded beyond traditional criminal networks to become a normalised part of life in many parts of the world.

Professor Morten Ravn (UCL Economics). His project is entitled “Business Cycle Causes & Consequences” and examines the underlying causes of fluctuations in prosperity and employment, the impact on society, and how economic fluctuations could be stabilized through policy interventions.

ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to leading principle investigators, enabling them to push forward the boundaries of their discipline. Furthermore, it also supports the development of research careers and creates new opportunities for early career researchers at UCL. In total €450m has been awarded to 185 winners from across the EU.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), said: “In the midst of very challenging times, it’s heartening to have some good news to announce. We are extremely proud of our academics in being awarded this funding. These grants will ensure vital research can take place, and contribute to our understanding of the world around us. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we fund and support the scientific community, to enable us to respond to challenging conditions.”

The President of the European Research Council, Professor Mauro Ferrari, commented: “I am glad to announce a new round of ERC grants that will back cutting-edge, exploratory research, set to help Europe and the world to be better equipped for what the future may hold. That’s the role of blue sky research. These senior research stars will cut new ground in a broad range of fields, including the area of health. I wish them all the best in this endeavour and, at this time of crisis, let me pay tribute to the heroic and invaluable work of the scientific community as a whole.”



  • ERC grant recipients (l-r): Professor Jonathan Tennyson (UCL Physics & Astronomy), Professor Lucia Michelutti (UCL Anthropology) and Professor Morten Ravn (UCL Economics)