In 2007, the European Commission created the European Research Council (ERC) with the aim of promoting excellent basic science in Europe, supporting the best researchers from all fields and of any nationality who carry on research at the frontiers of knowledge. The ERC finances prestigious projects that seek to develop innovative and high-risk research. Since its creation, the ERC has had a considerable impact on the European research landscape.
Euskadi currently has 17 ERC grants in its three modalities: 7 Starting Grants, aimed at young researchers who have demonstrated their ability to become independent leaders, 6 Consolidator Grants to support excellent researchers in order to consolidate their own team or program of research and 4 Advanced Grants aimed at researchers with exceptional trajectory and leadership capacity that have pioneering and highly ambitious projects. 82% of people who have been awarded with an ERC in Euskadi are Ikerbasque Researchers
Among the ERC projects that are being developed in Euskadi are those obtained by Ashwin Woodhoo and Paola Ferrario. Ashwin Woodhoo, Ikerbasque researcher at CICbioGUNE got an ERC Consolidator project in the 2019 call. With two million euros, it will allow him to study the myelination process in Schwann cells, key to understanding diseases such as multiple sclerosis or diabetic neuropathy. Paola Ferrario, Ikerbasque researcher from DIPC, is developing an ERC Starting Grant with 1.5 million euros that aims to apply an innovative technique to PET scanners, to improve image reconstruction and reduce the dose of radioactive isotope received by the patient or the exposure time. She obtained the project in 2017 and has already completed the design phase of a first prototype, which will begin operating in the coming months.
With thousands of applications every year and after an international evaluation in which scientific excellence is the only evaluation criterion, only 10-15% of the projects get this attractive financing. The initiatives supported by the European Research Council enjoy great prestige among the international scientific community; in fact, the success in obtaining these grants, which cover all scientific areas, is an indicator of excellence at the international level. According to Fernando Cossio, scientific director of Ikerbasque "Getting ERC grants means that Euskadi is recognized internationally as a region with advanced research, with Basque research groups at an international level and where adequate conditions are given to develop international research".
For this reason, Ikerbasque has an ERC Fast Track call aimed at attracting researchers who have ERC assistance from the 2018-2020 calls to Euskadi. Open throughout the year, it is aimed at researchers from all areas of knowledge, who are doing their work anywhere in the world. Ikerbasque offers an indefinite contract in the Research Associate or Research Professor categories depending on your research career.