Nobel Prizes: a triumph for EU-funded research (ERC grantees amongst chemistry and physics prize laureates)

​Klaus Hasselmann from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Benjamin List from the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung, and Giorgio Parisi from the Sapienza University of Rome were awarded the most coveted of science awards – the Nobel Prizes.

Professor List, who shared half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Professor Parisi, who took home another half of the Prize in Physics, have been generously supported by the EU, each with two consecutive grants from the European Research Council (ERC) over the past decade. Funding of around €8 million in total for these top researchers, at the right moment in their careers, let them build on their initial breakthroughs – exploring new ideas, and adding new discoveries.

These Nobel Prizes show us that investing in top frontier science helps to keep European research at the forefront

Benjamin List developed new catalysts, so-called ‘organocatalysts’, which make the chemical industry cleaner and cheaper, and enable other researchers to create new medicines or better solar cells. Giorgio Parisi’s seemingly abstract work on the physics of disordered random systems is used to model the Earth’s climate and other complex systems. The stellar trajectory of both scientists have now been recognised by the Nobel Committee.

German oceanographer and climate modeller Klaus Hasselmann, who shared in the physics prize, participated together with other researchers in two collaborative projects funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research. One of these projects, with a total budget of over €5 million, developed new modelling tools to foster a low-carbon society. The other project received over €2 million and focused on strengthening EU-Russian Arctic studies, helping foster important and timely research on the environmental and socioeconomic effects of change on the region.

In addition, Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan, who got the other half of the chemistry prize, are both part of the community of Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA), as supervisors of two of the MSCA Individual Fellowships.


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