Five UCL academics awarded European Research Council funding

European Commission
European Commission

UCL researchers have received the most EU funding of any UK institution, alongside the University of Cambridge, with five academics being awarded with prestigious Consolidator Grants to support projects in areas such as memory function, robotics and sustainability.

There were 313 winners of the European Research Council’s latest round of Consolidator Grants, which had a funding total of ¤632 million (£530,000).

Part of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme, the money will support mid-career researchers to help tackle major questions across all scientific disciplines. The new round of grants will also create an estimated 1,900 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at 189 host institutions.

The five recipients are :

Dr Maja Fowkes (UCL Institute of Advanced Studies) : Dr Fowkes is an art historian, curator and co-director of the Post-Socialist Art Centre (PACT) at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL. She has been awarded funding for her research into the Socialist Anthropocene in the Visual Arts.

Professor Tamar Makin (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) : Professor Makin is a neuroscientist at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and is the head of the Plasticity Lab. Her project, AUGMENT, considers the Fundamentals for Motor Control of Robotic Augmentation.

Dr Matteo Salvalaglio (UCL Chemical Engineering): Dr Salvalaglio’s research aims to answer questions regarding how molecular properties affect technologically relevant processes in the fields of chemical and biochemical engineering. He has been awarded funding for his project, entitled High Throughput Modelling of Molecular Crystals Out of Equilibrium.

Professor Manis Tiwari (UCL Mechanical Engineering): Professor Tiwari’s research focuses on interfaces - encompassing broad areas of small-scale manufacturing and transport phenomena with an emphasis on developing new energy and healthcare technologies. The funding will go towards his project, Bioinspired nanoengineering of robust films: Multifunctional interfaces for enabling a sustainable future.

Dr Daniel Bush (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology): Dr Bush’s research is concerned with the mechanisms and dynamics of spatial learning and memory in the hippocampal formation. The grant has been awarded for his project, Direct Cortical Stimulation to Manipulate Human Memory Function.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) said: "We’re delighted that UCL has received five ECR Consolidator Grants - the most of any UK institution along with the University of Cambridge. 

"Spanning the breadth of UCL - from Mechanical Engineering to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience - the grants clearly highlight our university’s research strength in a range of different disciplines, as well as the brilliance of our researchers. 

"Congratulations to all our successful academics - I look forward to seeing the outcomes and solutions found as a result of these prestigious grants in future." 

The latest call for Consolidator Grants attracted 2652 applicants. The award recipients come from 24 EU Member States and associated countries, with a majority being from Germany (61), UK (41) and France (29).

President of the ERC Professor Maria Leptin said: "Even in times of crisis and conflict and suffering, it is our duty to keep science on track and give our brightest minds free reign to explore their ideas.

"We do not know today how their work might revolutionise tomorrow - we do know that they will open up new horizons, satisfy our curiosity and most likely help us prepare for unpredictable future challenges.

"So, I am thrilled to see a new group of ERC grant winners funded for their scientific journey. I wish them the best of luck on their way to push the frontiers of our knowledge!"