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Martin Pilhofer awarded ERC Consolidator Grant

Martin Pilhofer (photo by Marco Blessano)

NOMIS researcher Martin Pilhofer, Professor of Cryo-Electron Microscopy at ETH Zurich, has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. The Consolidator Grants are intended to help outstanding researchers to consolidate their position in basic research.

Pilhofer studies cell-​cell interactions by imaging techniques and was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2015. With the new Consolidator Grant, the group will develop cryo-​electron tomography methods to study complex environmental samples. The methods will be applied to investigate the diversity and evolution of cell-​cell interactions in microbial ecosystems. Cryo-​electron tomography will be established as a new discovery tool in order to understand how the astonishing genetic diversity in microbial populations manifests in unexplored structures and functions.

Seven ERC Consolidator Grants for ETH Zurich

Seven ETH researchers can look forward to generous funding for their projects: the European Research Council (ERC) has approved a total amount of around 15 million Swiss francs.

ETH Zurich was again successful in the grant process this year, with seven projects by ETH researchers receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant of around 2 million Swiss francs each. A further eighth successful project will be transferred to ETH. These projects are all highly diverse with regard to subject area, and focus on issues ranging from digital approaches to securing a more sustainable fashion industry to fighting metastasis in breast cancer. The researchers belong to six different ETH departments.

The importance of relationships with Europe

Not only is the absolute number of successful projects highly encouraging, so are the overall results: 60 percent of the applications submitted by ETH researchers progressed to the second round of the assessment procedure and over half received a score of “A”, indicating that they would in principle be eligible for funding. At 35 percent, the success rate of ETH applications was significantly higher than the European average of 13 percent.

Detlef Günther, ETH Vice President for Research, is delighted with this achievement: “I would like to congratulate the researchers on this great success. We can be proud of ETH and its consistently excellent performance in the ERC grant awarding process.” He emphasises, however, that the substantial support provided by the EU for these important research projects cannot be taken for granted: “It is essential for us to continue to be able to participate in the European framework programme for research in order to maintain this high standard.” He strongly believes that ERC grants make a significant contribution to ensuring the visibility of researchers from Switzerland throughout Europe and enabling them to establish networks with first-​class EU researchers. “This must continue to be the case in future,” he says.

Continue reading this ETH Zurich release


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