The highly-competitive awards, given to Europe’s most innovative, high-impact academics, have been won by researchers from across the university’s four divisions - representing the highest number of consolidator grants awarded in the UK. These coveted prizes are awarded by the ERC to researchers with between seven and 12 years’ post-doctoral experience, ‘all selected solely based on excellence’, according to Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Oxford said: ‘These ERC awards are a strong endorsement of the quality and adventure of the research proposed by early and mid-career researchers across the University, in diverse subjects including demography, history, zoology, biology and chemistry.’
Oxford’s winners, each awarded research funding of some €2 million, include Dr Alfredo Castello in the Department of Biochemistry. A specialist in researching the role of RNA-binding proteins in virus infection, Dr Castello’s work has uncovered dozens of RBPs, which are crucial for viruses. Millions of people die each year from RNA viruses. It is critical to understand the interactions that viruses establish with the host cell.