ERC grants reveal unequal spread
Rome – The EUR2.5m ERC Advanced Grants are the Grammies of European science – not in the same league as a Nobel Prize, but still a lucrative honor. In the fourth round since 2007, the European Research Council awarded some a590m to 266 established research leaders. Following the money reveals something about the distribution of excellence centres in Europe’s life sciences, very few of which lie in the south. Of the 99 grants in the life sciences, just eight went to Italian and four to Spanish researchers. Scientists from Greece, the former Yugoslavia, Portugal and Cyprus went empty-handed. The allocation of grants not only shows where the strongholds are at the European level, but also at the national one. In Italy, the north – and especially Milan – emerged as the epicentre of Italian life sciences research, with the IFOM Fondazione Istituto FIRC di Oncologia Molecolare and the Istituto Europeo di Oncologia both grabbing two grants. Two other winners – the Istituto Di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri and the Istituto Nazionale di Genetica Molecolare – are also based in Milan. In Spain, the picture is similar. Three of the winners are in Barcelona: the Centre de Regulació Genòmica, the Institut D’Investigacio Biomedica de Bellvitge and the Centre de Recerca en Epidemiologia Ambiental. The fourth is located in Madrid.