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European Research Council awards DKK 22 million to two NAT researchers

Assistant Professor Jonas Elm (Chemistry) and the upcoming group leader of DANDRITE, Postdoc Taro Kitazawa, will each receive approx. DKK 11 million from the European Research Council, which has just awarded the prestigious Starting Grants for ground-breaking international research projects.

Photo: Private and AU Foto

EUR 1.5 million is on the way to two of NAT’s talented researchers: Assistant Professor Jonas Elm from the Department of Chemistry and Postdoc Taro Kitazawa, the future group leader at DANDRITE.

The grants come from the prestigious ERC Startup pool under the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, which aims to support the most talented researchers in Europe with their ground-breaking projects.

Unexplored gap in the atmosphere 

Cloud formation and what actually happens inside clouds at particle level is one of the great mysteries in climate research. There is an unexplored ‘gap’ of so-called newly nucleated particles between atmospheric molecular clusters and atmospheric particles, and this ‘gap’ could be the key to understanding cloud formation.

In his project 'Exploring the Molecular Properties of Atmospheric Freshly Nucleated Particles ' (also known as 'ExploreFNP'), Assistant Professor Jonas Elm will explore these particles. Via quantum chemical calculations, he will examine how newly nucleated particles are formed and interact with the surrounding world. The new knowledge about these hitherto unexplored particles could improve future climate models and global climate estimates.

Memory storage in the brain

How is memory stored in the brain? Postdoc and future group leader at DANDRITE and associate professor at Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Taro Kitazawa, is trying to answer this question in his research project 'Epigenetic and transcriptional basis of memory engram plasticity'.

He will research into the molecular basis of neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to change) and address a number of basic questions that focus on the formation, sorting and storage of memory at molecular level.

European pat on the back for ground-breaking projects

Grants from the European Research Council are a helping hand for young researchers throughout Europe. The funding allows researchers to launch their own projects, put together their own research team and pursue their best ideas. In total, the European Research Council awarded EUR 619 million in Starting Grants at the beginning of January.