Robinson College Fellow and Deputy Warden one of only 209 researchers across Europe selected to receive 2020 grants from Europe's premier funding body, the European Research Council (ERC)

Professor Melinda Duer has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for her EXTREME project to explore the chemistry that happens when a biological tissue stretches or breaks.

She is one of only 209 leading researchers across Europe to have been selected for a 2020 Advanced Grant, from 2,678 applicants in all fields of research. Female researchers submitted 22% of proposals and 23% of grants were awarded to women.

So-called mechanochemistry leads to molecules being generated within the tissue that may be involved in communicating tissue damage to cells.

Detecting and understanding this chemistry is highly relevant for understanding ageing, and for developing new therapeutics for degenerative diseases and cancer. 

“This award means I can do the research I’ve been dreaming about for the last ten years. I am extremely grateful to the European Research Council for giving me this amazing opportunity. The ERC is one of the few organisations that understands the need for longer term funding for high risk, high reward research, which is essential for this project. I really couldn’t be more delighted and I can’t wait to get started!” said Melinda.

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon said in a statement: “For this last ERC call under Horizon 2020, over 200 researchers will be funded to follow their scientific instinct and dreams. Still, the great increase in demand led to a very fierce competition: only 8% of candidates were successful. Many outstanding researchers with innovative ideas passed the excellence threshold, but were left unfunded due to budget constraints – another motivation for the national or regional levels to support these great projects.”

He added: “We look forward to seeing what major insights and breakthroughs will spring from this investment and trust. We are pleased with the continued positive trend for women researchers showing that ERC’s sustained efforts on this matter pay off."

Professor Melinda Duer:

Duer Research Group: