Three new ERC Starting Grants at Ghent University

Elizabeth Merrill, Georgios Spyropoulos, Christopher Markiewicz (large view)

Elizabeth Merrill, Georgios Spyropoulos, Christopher Markiewicz

(09-03-2023) In the ERC 2022 calls, Ghent University obtained 13 new ERC Starting Grants and 6 new Consolidator Grants.

In the last ERC starting Grant call of 2022 two more researchers were awarded a Starting Grant. This brings the total for Ghent University on 12 new ERC Grants. To top off this result, yet another grantee decided to come to our university with his Starting Grant Project. We are onto great and excelling times for research at Ghent University.

ERC grants in numbers

These additional grants brings the success rate of Ghent University in call ERC-StG-2022 to 31%, which is truly outstanding. In the already evaluated ERC 2022 calls, Ghent University obtained 13 new ERC Starting Grants and 6 new Consolidator Grants (one of which will be conducted at the VIB as Host Institution). With these high numbers of acquired grants, our university positions itself in the top 3 of 360 institutions having acquired ERC funding from the 2022 Work Programme. Ghent University outperformed all European universities, and only had to let CNRS and Max Planck, both giant institutions, go ahead. This is an overwhelming success!

New Starting Grants projects

CCPEMA – Elizabeth Merrill

This project advances the hypothesis that subjects and techniques of mechanical drawing served as a bedrock of architectural education in Italy c. 1450-1650, prior to the advent of formal schools of architecture. The project centres on two bodies of previously neglected material evidence to demonstrate that copying drawings were among the most vital tools in the architect’s workshop. Examination of Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s Opusculum de architectura (c. 1475) and the related copy-volumes offers insurmountable evidence of the ubiquity of manual copying, and the architect’s recourse to a standard body of graphic machine models. The Opusculum was not only copied from, but was also used as a template for traced drawings, an extraordinary finding that introduces a second body of graphic material: architectural drawings produced by direct tracing. The research thus confronts history’s normative conceptions of “architecture” and artistic drawing (disegno), providing the foundations for an expanded history.

aTONE – Georgios Spyropoulos

Over 5% of the world’s population require rehabilitation for their disabling hearing loss. Currently, cochlear implants are one of the major hearing technologies to help with that. However, critical limitations on materials and neurostimulation methods impede our ability to reach high resolution, responsive and improved hearing that resembles the functionality of a real cochlea. In the aTONE project, George will tackle these limitations by using the fundamental properties of organic materials to build better neural interfaces and by developing hybrid electro-optical neurostimulation methods to interact with the auditory neural pathway in a responsive manner.

OTTOWAQF – Christopher Markiewicz

OTTOWAQF will investigate how pious endowments shaped state-building in the Ottoman Empire during a critical period between 1450 and 1650. Pious endowments controlled vast tracts of land and property across the empire in support of mosques, schools, hospitals, and many other charitable activities. As a result, they constituted the most widespread and powerful social institutions within the empire and across Islamic lands. Even so, their role in state formation has been overlooked. OTTOWAQF will examine the political and economic impact of endowments on the state to produce a new model of state power in the Ottoman Empire that accounts for the participation of a diverse range of social actors from across the empire in the development of the early modern Ottoman state.

About the ERC

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. 

Researchers within and outside of Ghent University who wish to apply for an ERC Grant with our university as host institution, can contact the EU Team for advice and support.