Celebrating an ERC milestone: 10,000 grantees

This year the European Research Council (ERC) will celebrate an important milestone: funding the groundbreaking ideas of 10,000 individual researchers! On 6 May 2021, during an online ceremony, the ERC will welcome the 10,000th researcher who was awarded an ERC grant. ERC is the most important EU funding program for VIB, and we are proud that we have been the host institute for 63 ERC grants to VIB researchers – so far. Below the PSB ERC grantees.

"The ERC is one of world's most prestigious research programs. Immense grateful to have received two advanced grants, AMAIZE and BREEDIT. The high risk, high gain policy of the ERC delivers disruptive innovation" - DIrk Inzé (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology)

"ERC is an unparalleled instrument to push the frontiers of science. The StG PROCELLDEATH and the CoG EXECUT.ER have been enabling my team to address fundamental questions of programmed cell death regulation as an integral part of plant development and reproduction. ERC is the only funding body to date that supports pioneering and exploratory research at this scale." - Moritz Nowack (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology)

"My ERC Consolidator grant allowed me to tackle my research question at a multidisciplinary level, something I could have never achieved at a similar scale with alternative funding. It allowed me to initiate structural biology research topics in my group, which was until then largely cell biology oriented. The knowledge that we gain from these structural studies fuels novel research hypotheses that the group can subsequently test using cell biology approaches. Looking back to the past five years of my ERC-funded research, I cannot imagine my research being at the stage it is today without my ERC funding." - Daniël Van Damme (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology)

"With the ERC grant, I’m able to study my exciting hypothesis that organelles within the plant cell associate directly through stress-induced COntact SItes (COSI) to enable efficient communication. The outcome of COSI will be a better understanding, and potentially a re-evaluation of the fundamental mechanisms by which plants respond and adapt to stresses." - Inge De Clercq (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology)

"The ERC Advanced Grant POPMET allows us to explore the full potential of systems genetics in poplar. We are using long read sequencing to capture the global genomic diversity present in the pangenome of 750 natural accessions of the European black poplar. Together with a detailed survey of variations in both gene expression and metabolite content, our unique multi-omic data set will lay the foundation for a great number of genetics and molecular studies to explore the fascinating biology of forest trees, going from the discovery of genes and metabolic pathways up to understanding wood formation. The results will support the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy, a key step in mitigating climate change." - Wout Boerjan (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology)