ERC is visiting Sweden
The ERC Scientific Council is in Stockholm 28–30 June. The Swedish Research Council hosts the meeting and takes the opportunity to invite the council and president Maria Leptin to a reception with researchers in Sweden who received grants from the ERC last year.
The European Research Council, ERC, is Europe's flagship for funding curiosity-driven research of the highest quality. The only selection criterion they have is scientific excellence, which means that funding from the ERC is very prestigious for the individual researcher, the host institution and the country.
Since the start in 2007, 465 researchers in Sweden have to date succeeded in receiving grants in strong competition from other researchers in Europe. The most prestigious grants are the ERC Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant and Advanced Grant, which target different career levels.
Of all EU countries, researchers in Sweden are in the third place when one looks at ERC grants in relation to population size, if not counting the associated countries Switzerland and Israel that are in the top.
It is possible to apply for grants in life sciences, social sciences and humanities as well as physical sciences and engineering. Sweden has so far been most successful in physical sciences and engineering
Record year within humanities and social sciences
Last year was a record year in terms of Sweden's achievements in the humanities and social sciences. 13 researchers were granted an Advanced Grant and Sweden's approval rate was 19 percent compared to the average of 13 percent for the call as a whole.
The Swedish Research Council has previously addressed the issue of the low number of applicants in the humanities and social sciences and pointed to a development potential in the field. In the latest report from 2020, concrete proposals for measures were highlighted for researchers, universities, research financiers as well as at government level.
Jakob Svensson, at Stockholm University, is one of the researchers who received grants in the humanities and social sciences in 2022, and he will present his research during the reception. He was awarded an Advanced Grant of 23 million SEK for his project on agricultural development in low-income countries, where he studies the lack of markets for high-quality products as a cause of low income and productivity among African smallholder farmers.
ERC grants a seal of excellence
From the Swedish Research Council, among others, Director General Katarina Bjelke and Secretariy Generals Madeleine Durbeeij-Hjalt and Mattias Marklund will be present at the reception.
Mattias Marklund has an experience as an ERC grant recipient and received a Starting Grant in the first call that the ERC carried out in 2007. The grant enabled him to look forward to a research career, and enabled him to recruit his own research group.
"My research today is largely based on the continuation of the project for which the ERC granted funds. Many young researchers find themselves in the same situation as I once did. Receiving grants in such fierce competition is an important seal of excellence that enables more people to continue their activities and also build new, strong research environments."
Meeting with Sweden's Minister for Education
The meeting of the ERC's Scientific Council in Stockholm is related to the Sweden's EU presidency. It is the first time they are visiting Sweden since the ERC was established in 2007. During the first part of the visit, they will be at the Swedish Research Council's premises. They will also meet, among others, Sweden's Minister for Education Mats Persson.
"Swedish research personalities played a key role in sowing the first seeds of what was to become the European Research Council, which has by now grown into a beacon for European cutting-edge frontier science", says Maria Leptin, president of the ERC Scientific Council.
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