Two BIST researchers receive ERC Advanced Grants worth over five million euros

By April 22, 2021BIST, CRG, ICN2

ICREA Prof. Daniel Maspoch, Group Leader at the BIST centre ICN2, and ICREA Prof. Luis Serrano, Director of the BIST centre CRG, have received ERC Advanced Grants worth over five million euros.

Two BIST researchers have received ERC Advanced Grants in the latest announcement by the European Research Council (ERC). Advanced Grants are awarded to researchers with a long track-record of achievements in their fields, and who are exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their work. In the latest announcement of ERC Advanced Grants, Prof. Daniel Maspoch (Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology – ICN2) received a 2.9 million euro grant for his project CLIPOFF-CHEM, and Prof. Luis Serrano (Centre for Genomic Regulation –  CRG) received a 2.5 million euro grant for his project LUNG-BIOREPAIR. 


Prof. Maspoch’s project will develop a novel synthesis method that can mark a change of paradigm in the field of synthesis of structures and molecules. The abbreviation CLIPOFF-CHEM corresponds to a synthesis method designed by his group and called Clip-off Chemistry. Many synthesis strategies currently applied, especially in supramolecular chemistry, use bottom-up techniques, which consist of bonding atoms or molecules to create new molecules or materials. Clip-off Chemistry is based on selective and high precision breaking of existing bonds in reticular materials. Therefore, it represents a radical change, which will offer the possibility to synthesise many and diverse materials, having different composition (from organic to organometallic), dimensions (from 3D down to 0D) and size (from macro- to nano-scale). Learn more about CLIPOFF-CHEM here.


Prof. Serrano’s group will engineer a lung bacterium to treat lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis or lung cancer. His lab aims to engineer the lung bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae and use it as a vector to stimulate or suppresses the immune system in lung cells to fight cancer, infection, or other diseases. The ERC Advanced Grant will fund the use of engineered bacteria to express different combinations of active biomolecules in mice studies, paving the way for its application in human health. Learn more about LUNG-BIOREPAIR here.

The 2020 ERC Advanced Grants are worth €507 million in total. This year they will go to 209 leading researchers across Europe. Their work is set to provide new insights into many subjects, such as the links between obesity and pancreatic cancer, threats from wildlife viruses, brain-inspired neural network computer chips, and new ways for architects to design the buildings of the future.

Apart from strengthening Europe’s knowledge base, the new research projects will also lead to the creation of some 1,900 new jobs for post-doctoral fellows, PhD students, and other research staff. The future grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres across 14 EU Member States and associated countries with the UK (51 grants), Germany (40), France (22) and Netherlands (17) hosting the highest number of grants. Spain received 11 grants in this round, with five going to institutes in Catalonia.

ERC competitions are open to researchers of any nationality and, in this round, scientists and scholars of 25 nationalities received funding. In this call, 2 678 applicants submitted their proposals in all fields of research. Female researchers submitted 22% of proposals and 23% of grants were awarded to women. Since the start of the Horizon Europe programme, the share of women among researchers awarded Advanced Grants has been steadily increasing from around 10% in 2014 to more than 22% in 2020.

Further details about the 2020 ERC Advanced Grants can be found here.