UCL News


Three UCL academics awarded ERC Consolidator Grants

9 December 2020

Three researchers from UCL have secured prestigious EU funding for the next five years in economics, computer science and earth science.

ERC Consolidator Grant recipients

The European Research Council (ERC) bestows the Consolidator Grants to outstanding researchers who have a promising scientific track record, and between 7-12 years of experience after the completion of their doctorates.

The three recipients are:

  • Professor Konrad Mierendorff (UCL Economics) is Professor in Economics. His project is entitled ‘Dynamic Information Acquisition, Experimentation and Communication’.
  • Dr Ana Ferreira (UCL Earth Sciences) is Reader in Seismology. Her project is entitled ‘UPFLOW: Upward mantle flow from novel seismic observations’.
  • Professor Alexandra Silva (UCL Computer Science) is Professor of Algebra, Semantics and Computation. Her project is entitled “Automated Probabilistic Black-Box Verification”. This is Professor Silva’s second ERC grant, following a starting grant in 2015.

Dr Ferreira said of her project, UPFLOW: “The main goal of UPFLOW is to understand the upward movement of hot rock in the mantle (~30-3,000 km depth beneath our feet) towards the surface. This is important because ultimately the mantle controls earthquakes, volcano eruptions and mountain building.”

The ERC awarded the grants to 327 top scientists and scholars from across Europe as part of its EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The fund is worth a total of €655m and will have a far reaching impact on science and beyond. Of this figure, €6.5 million will be given to UCL projects.

The recipients of the new Horizon 2020 awards come from 23 countries across Europe and represent nearly 40 nationalities. Three of the 50 grants awarded to UK institutions have been given to UCL researchers.

This year, 37% of grants were awarded to female researchers, the highest proportion since the start of the Consolidator grant scheme. Overall the success rate for women applicants was 14.5%, and 12.6% for men.

The UK was one of the leading countries receiving grants, with 50 awarded. Other leading countries recognised include Germany with 50 grants, France with 34 and the Netherlands with 29.

The proposed research projects cover a wide range of topics in physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Professor David Price, UCL’s Vice-Provost for Research said: "I am delighted to hear that these brilliant researchers from across UCL have been awarded prestigious Horizon 2020 funding awards. The range of projects awarded highlights our institutional commitment to and strengths across a wide range of disciplines, and I’m greatly looking forward to hearing more about the outcome of their research in the next few years. Congratulations to all.

“While the shape of our relationship with the EU may change in years to come, our commitment to working closely with our European partners remains unchanged, and we will continue to engage and collaborate at an international level to deliver research with real-world impact.”

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “Congratulations to all this year’s ERC Consolidator Grant laureates - all selected solely based on excellence.

“While there is still progress to be made worldwide in achieving gender balance, I am pleased to note that there is an upward trend in women applying for this ERC scheme. We can also see that in this ERC competition the proportion of female applicants who were successful is the highest ever achieved - higher than that of male applicants.” 



  • Professor Konrad Mierendorff, Professor Alexandra Silva, Dr Ana Ferreira


Media contact

Kate Corry

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6995

Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk