Trinity researchers win €2 million each from the European Research Council

Dr Laura Cleaver and Dr Aline Vidotto’s win brings Trinity’s total number of ERC grants to 26

Dr Laura Cleaver and Dr Aline Vidotto are recipients of the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant Awards valued at €2 million each, it was announced today.

The awards bringing Trinity’s total number of ERC grants awarded under the EU Horizon 2020 funding competition to 26.

Dr Cleaver of the School of Histories and Humanities will undertake research on the significance of the trade in medieval manuscripts for the development of ideas about the nature and importance of European culture. Meanwhile, Dr Vidotto of the School of Physics will investigate how streams of gas that pour out from stars influence the loss of atmospheres of planets outside our own solar system, which orbit close to their stars.

Speaking on the award, Dr Cleaver said: “I am delighted and honoured to be awarded this grant. It is wonderful to receive such a vote of confidence from an international panel of senior colleagues and I am really looking forward to developing this research into some of Europe’s cultural treasures.”

Dr Vidotto explained how the award will contribute towards her research, titled Astroflow: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won this ERC Consolidator Grant award. The numerical modelling that my team will develop will enable us to interpret observations with Hubble and, in the future, with CUTE (the team’s NASA cubesat), and also to guide observers towards exoplanets where we could more easily observe these leaking atmospheres. We want to understand what happens to the atmospheres of these big close-in exoplanets when they collide with the very intense outflows from their host stars.”

Dr Linda Doyle, Dean of Research, congratulated the recipients: “Dr Cleaver and Dr Vidotto are very deserving awardees. They are driven by curiosity, creativity and a desire to understand the world.”

Trinity has won almost 50% of the ERC grants awarded to researchers at institutions in Ireland. Doris Alexander, Trinity’s research development manager, commented on the importance of funding research: “Trinity’s continued performance in the ERC programme is reflective of the successful outcome of a partnership approach between our excellent researchers and the supports provided by the ERC support officers and locally based RPOs (Research Performing Organisations) in the Research Development office. Supports offered by national agencies are also vital to nurture success and we hope that existing supports will be maintained.”

The ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded based on scientific excellence and are among the most competitive research grants. It supports five-year projects of “talented, mid-career researchers who have recently built independent, excellent teams and wish to strengthen them.”

Danielle Olavario

Danielle Olavario is a former SciTech Editor of Trinity News. She is a Microbiology graduate.