160 innovation grants to bring frontier research closer to the market

 Today, 52 winners of an innovation grant competition have been announced. The so-called 'proof of concept' grants, each worth up to €150,000, are dedicated to researchers that explore the innovation potential of their scientific discoveries. This will help researchers to bring the results of their frontier research closer to the market. Today's winners join 108 others that have already been awarded grants in 2017. In total 160 researchers will now investigate business opportunities, establish intellectual property rights or conduct technical validation to proof their scientific concept. They will for example develop new antibiotics that target drug-resistant bacteria, produce graphene sheets to protect works of art or make thermal-regulating paints that could reduce energy consumption of buildings (see further project examples). The overall budget of the competition was €24 million. In October last year, the Commission has geared its research and innovation funding towards boosting breakthrough, market-creating innovation. Europe is already a world leader in science and technology. To make Europe also a major innovation driver, the Commission has launched a Pilot for a European Innovation Council (EIC) to support top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and researchers with bright ideas. The EIC will mobilise €2.7 billion to support high-risk, high-gain innovation. The 'proof of concept' grants, announced today, are awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) and are part of the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (see ERC news item). The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. 

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