What the hell is the “ERC Consolidator Grant”? And why are we proud at IAIK?

Have you never heard of it? Then you might be curious now. Just read on.

By the way: IAIK’s Stefan Mangard just got one. This is why I write this posting.

“ERC” stand short for “European Research Council”. ERC supports top researchers from anywhere in the world. With “ERC Grants”, the European Research Council encourages high-quality research with competitive funding. “Competitive” means that (1) only few researchers get it, and (2) the grant has a weight of 2 million Euros.

Needless to say that we are proud at IAIK to have Stefan Mangard. Stefan’s research proposal with the title “SOPHIA – Securing Software against Physical Attacks” was competitive enough to let him get the “ERC Consolidator Grant”.

To get an ERC Consolidator Grant is also new for TU Graz. Stefan is the first professor at TU Graz to get this grant. Well, here I need to be more precise: Stefan got the grant in the category “Physical Sciences and Engineering”. Our colleague Gernot Müller-Putz also got an “ERC Consolidator Grant” in the category “Life Sciences” yesterday.

Thus, the Faculty of Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering at TU Graz now holds two such grants.

Last year, another colleague of our faculty, Thomas Pock, got the “ERC Start Grant”. Together with the two “ERC Consolidator Grants”, TU Graz is now holding 4 ERC grants in total; it adds up to 4 grants, since Stefan Freunberger (chemistry) also received an “ERC Start Grant” in 2014.

Here is some short tutorial: “ERC Grants” come in various flavours. The three main flavours are the “ERC Start Grant”, the “ERC Consolidator Grant”, and the “ERC Advanced Grant”. The prizes range between 1.5 million Euros and 2.5 million Euros. The grants differ in the age group which is eligible to apply: Young researchers up to 7 years after completion of their PhD go for the “ERC Start Grant”, researchers between 7 and 12 years after completion of their PhD go for the “ERC Consolidator Grant, and even older researchers go for the “ERC Advanced Grant”.

Here is what I consider funny: Ten days ago, Stefan Mangard was handing out this year’s prizes for “Best Of IAIK 2015” to students. Now, he is on the receiving end. Thus, we have one more who is “Best Of IAIK 2015“. This is life. Giving and taking. Let the good times roll.

(Thanks go to Florian Reimair for taking the photo.)

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