Prestigious European grant success for leading researcher from The Sainsbury Laboratory

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Professor Cyril Zipfel from The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) has been awarded a grant from a prestigious programme reserved for some of the top researchers in Europe.

Professor Zipfel, who is head of TSL, based at Norwich Research Park, leads one of just three plant-science projects to receive the funding out of a total of 329 awards.

The European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants for 2017 are worth in total €630 million. The ERC evaluated more than 2,500 proposals of which just 13% were successful.

They are part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme which supports “ambitious and daring” projects that have far-reaching impact on science and beyond.

Reserved for outstanding mid-career researchers whose work shows great promise, they cover a wide research spectrum from physical sciences, engineering and life-sciences through to social sciences and humanities.

Grant winners come from 22 European countries, with Professor Zipfel being one of 60 successful United Kingdom-based projects.

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Professor Zipfel, who specialises in plant signalling and defence against pathogens, received the award for a project titled: Regulation of plant receptor kinase-mediated immunity by endogenous peptides and their receptors

“I’m honoured to receive this funding which capitalises on some exciting findings revealing how plant receptor kinases - which represent one of the largest families of plant proteins - function at the molecular level," he said.

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: "On behalf of the Scientific Council, I'd like to congratulate the new ERC grant winners. I also express my gratitude to the over 3,000 top scientists and scholars for their pain-staking work, evaluating and identifying the most ambitious proposals submitted to the ERC.

“The funding will encourage these mid-career scientists to explore the unknown and develop their most daring ideas at their own initiative.

“By leaving them freedom, the ERC is enabling breakthroughs. This conditions the capacity of Europe to respond to a number of challenges and to improve the lives of its citizens if the appropriate policies are adopted."

Read the ERC announcement -