(10 February 2014) – Eleven universities and technical institutes in less developed regions in Europe are to receive up to €2.4 million each in EU funding to boost their research capacity though the appointment of the first ever “ERA Chairs”.
The initiative aims to bridge Europe’s innovation divide by attracting top academics to organisations so that they can compete with centres of excellence elsewhere in the European Research Area (ERA).
The first pilot call was open to research organisations located in less-developed EU regions or similar areas in countries associated to the EU’s seventh research framework programme (FP7). A total of 111 proposals were submitted for evaluation, largely exceeding expectations. Nearly all Member States with eligible regions were represented.
Once recruited, the ERA Chairs and their teams will undertake research in a wide spectrum of scientific fields, such as aquaculture, environmental chemistry, veterinary medicine, human computer interactions and low carbon emission in cities.
Around 15 more ERA Chairs are expected to be announced next year following the first Horizon 2020 call published in December.