Trinity Researchers Secure Prestigious European Research Council Grants

Posted on: 15 February 2016

Assistant Professor in Geography at Trinity, Martin Sokol, and ERC Research Professor in Chemistry, Valeria Nicolosi, have secured prestigious European Research Council Consolidator Grants, worth a combined total of €4.5 million.

These highly competitive grants allow exceptional mid-career researchers to pursue ground-breaking research, consolidate their research teams, and develop innovative ideas.

These two Consolidator Grants for the Trinity researchers are the only ones to be awarded in Ireland for this funding cycle. The ERC forms part of the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020.

Professor Sokol will use the grant to ask questions about the process of financialisation – the growing power of finance over societies and economies – to develop a better informed view of how banks, states and households across post-socialist East-Central Europe are interconnected by financial chains with each other and with a wider political economy.

Professor Sokol will use the grant to assess the growing power of finance over societies and economies, using Eastern Europe as a 'living laboratory'.

Professor Sokol, who is also a founding member and co-organiser of the Global Network on Financial Geography, said: “The objective is to examine how states, banks and households in post-socialist contexts have been financialised and to consider what implications this has for the societies in question and for Europe as a whole.”

“Eastern Europe will be used as a laboratory to understand how finance penetrates every nook and cranny of post-communist economies that were previously built on completely opposite principles. The project will open up new horizons in studies of finance, its geography and its future role in society.”

Professor Nicolosi, who is based at AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science centre, hosted in Trinity, will focus on creating a new type of extremely long lasting battery – one that can come in any shape or size and can be camouflaged within any type of material – whether that’s clothing, your mobile phone, your car dashboard or even implanted inside your body (e.g. for an Implanted Cardiac Device).

This funding will enable her to establish a multi-disciplinary research group to develop this unique class of energy storage device. Professor Nicolosi is Ireland’s only four-time ERC awardee, and has secured over €11 million in funding for her research in the past five years at Trinity.

Professor Nicolosi said: “I am delighted to be awarded the European Research Council’s (ERC) Consolidator Grant. Since 2011, the first year of my ERC Starting Grant, my group has grown from three to 25 people."

"The ERC Grants I have been awarded were not only important in helping fund our research and grow our team, but to also help leverage more funding and realise partnerships with large multinationals. What is key is that these grants allow us to take the next step with our research – whether it is the licensing of technology or starting up a new company.”

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