Prof. Reuven Or, left, from the Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cancer Immunotherapy Research Center, speaks with Pluristem CEO Zami Aberman last month.
Three professors from the Hebrew University have collectively been awarded over 7 million euros in funding to pursue “ground breaking and high risk projects” by the European Research Council (ERC).
“The ERC Advanced Grants fund outstanding researchers throughout Europe. Their pioneering work has the potential to make a difference in people’s everyday life and deliver solutions to some of our most urgent challenges,” said Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.
Competition is steep for the European Research Council Advanced Grants that the HU professors received; of the 2,520 applicants, only 185 won funding. The grants are only given to researchers with a proven track record of significant achievements.
In 2020, five Israeli researchers won funding, one from Tel Aviv University, one from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and three from the Hebrew University.
The three “ground breaking and high risk projects” as the ERC calls them, include projects such as the treatment of adult leukemia by Professor Yinon Ben-Neria, research on why ancient rulers of China and Mongolia invested so much into building walls by Professor Gideon Shelach, and research in the study of algebra by Alex Lubotsky.
Ben-Neria from HU’s faculty of medicine works in the Immonology and Cancer Research department, and his research to develop an “Onco-destroyer” to treat adult acute leukemias was awarded 3.2 million euros.
Professor Gideon Shelach, Asian Studies, Hebrew University
Shelach’s research in HU’s Asian Studies department regarding the “Great Walls” and why Chinese dynasties invested so much time into developing them, was awarded almost 2.5m euros.
Professor Alex Lubotsky, Einstein Institute of Mathematics, Hebrew University
Lubotzky is a three-time winner of an ERC grant. His study, “Stability and Testability: Groups and Codes TeStability” looks into general algebraic questions following the line of, “Is every ‘almost solution’ a small deformation of an ‘exact solution?'” For his research he was awarded more than 1.6m euros.
These ERC grants will not only allow scientists to further their groundbreaking research but also lead to job creation. An estimated 2,000 postdocs, PhD students and laboratory staff will likely be employed by this group of 185 ERC awardees.