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Record number of Consolidator Grants

Nine researchers from six different Norwegian institutions have won a European Research Council Consolidator Grant in 2018. Together, the nine awardees are bringing roughly NOK 175 million to their research institutions.

In autumn 2018 Norwegian institutions reached a new high in the number of Starting Grants awarded by the European Research Council (ERC). Now the same has been achieved in relation to Consolidator Grants, which are targeted towards researchers who have 7–12 years of experience since completing their of Ph.D. and are in the process of establishing themselves as leading researchers.

Proposals for projects within the Social sciences and Humanities have been particularly successful, accounting for over 40 per cent of the Consolidator Grants awarded to Norwegian applicants overall.

Consolidator Grants comprise an award of up to EUR 2 million (almost NOK 20 million at today’s exchange rate) for a period of five years.

More applicants seeking – and securing – funding

“It’s too early to say whether the success of Norwegian institutions in securing more ERC funding represents a trend. What we can say, however, is that the number of applicants is rising and that the proportion of proposals gaining funding in this fiercely competitive arena is growing. It’s gratifying to see that Norway was the best Nordic country in this funding round,” says Chief Executive of the Research Council, John-Arne Røttingen.

Nine researchers from Norwegian research institutions will each be receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant worth close to EUR 2 million. From top left: Jørgen Carling (PRIO), Véronique Pouillard (UiO), Henrik Daae Zachrisson (UiO). Middle: Torkild Hovde Lyngstad (UiO), Inger Greve Alsos (UiT), Stijn de Schepper (UiB). Bottom: Victor Ghica (MF), Ingunn Kathrine Wehus (UiO) and Saket Saurabh (UiB).

Five of the nine awardees are Norwegian citizens, while three of the nine are women.

“Of the 62 Norwegian research proposals awarded Consolidator Grants, 23 are headed by women. The proportion of ERC-funded projects with women project managers is on the rise – a development I’m very pleased about,” states Dr Røttingen.

University of Oslo particularly successful

Nearly half of the Consolidator Grants awarded to Norwegian institutions have gone to projects at the University of Oslo (UiO). While UiO is not the only institution working hard to achieve ERC funding, its efforts go all the way back to the previous EU Framework Programme and it has established a professional framework for grant writing at the faculty level and, in several areas, the department level as well. 

This is a real feather in the cap for the nation’s foremost research groups (Iselin Nybø, Minister of Research and Higher Education).

UiO received six of the ten Norwegian Starting Grants awarded this past autumn. The four Consolidator Grants won by UiO are distributed across four different faculties: the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Educational Sciences, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities.

A researcher from the Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (MF) was also awarded funding, securing the institution’s first Consolidator Grant. MF is the second specialised university institution to be awarded a Consolidator Grant; NHH Norwegian School of Economics received the first. In addition, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) was awarded its second ERC grant. PRIO has previously won an Advanced Grant.

Consolidator Grant recipients in 2018

The nine ERC Consolidator Grant recipients from Norwegian institutions:

  • Torkild Hovde Lyngstad, UiO: Societal openness, normative flux, and the social modification of heritability (Social sciences and Humanities)
  • Véronique Pouillard, UiO: The History of Intellectual Property Rights in the Creative Industries (Social sciences and Humanities)
  • Ingunn Kathrine Wehus, UiO: Cosmoglobe – mapping the universe from the Milky Way to the Big Bang (Physical and Engineering Sciences)
  • Henrik Daae Zachrisson, UiO: Socioeconomic gaps in language development and school achievement: Mechanisms of inequality and opportunity (Social sciences and Humanities)
  • Saket Saurabh, University of Bergen (UiB): Lossy Preprocessing (Physical and Engineering Sciences)
  • Inger Greve Alsos, UiT The Arctic University of Norway: Ice Age Genomic Tracking of Refugia and Postglacial Dispersal (Life sciences)
  • Victor Ghica, MF: Deconstructing Early Christian Metanarratives: Fourth-Century Egyptian Christianity in the Light of Material Evidence (Social sciences and Humanities)
  • Stijn de Schepper, Uni Research: A Genetic View into Past Sea Ice Variability in the Arctic (Physical and Engineering Sciences)
  • Jørgen Carling, PRIO: Future Migration as Present Fact (Social sciences and Humanities)
Are you a young researcher considering applying for ERC funding or are you worried it might be too hard to beat the competition? Read the stories of researchers who have been successful and learn more about the steps they took to win ERC funding.


Written by:
Brita Skuland. Translation: Glenn Wells/Carol B. Eckmann.
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