Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

2006 Marie Curie Excellence Awards announced

The five winners of this year's Marie Curie Excellence Awards were announced at a ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 16 November. Each picked up prize money of €50,000 for their outstanding work in a variety of scientific fields, including cognitive neuroscience, nano...
2006 Marie Curie Excellence Awards announced
The five winners of this year's Marie Curie Excellence Awards were announced at a ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 16 November. Each picked up prize money of €50,000 for their outstanding work in a variety of scientific fields, including cognitive neuroscience, nanotechnology, physics and atmospheric science.

Established in 2003, the awards recognise results achieved by researchers, in any field of science, who have benefited from one of the European support schemes. Known as the Marie Curie Actions, these schemes aim to widen researchers' career prospects and promote excellence in European research.

'The Marie Curie Awards are one way in which we acknowledge the excellent research being done in Europe,' said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik. 'We want to encourage the potential of all European researchers and highlight the positive effects of moving within or outside the EU for the purposes of research.'

Prize winner Dr Michal Lavidor is one of many researchers who have benefited from the mobility opportunities on offer through the Marie Curie Fellowships. Thanks to one of these grants, she was able to go from Israel to the UK to research how interhemispheric stimulation in the brain promotes reading enhancement. Although not a 'born researcher' - having worked for several years in a consulting company - Dr Lavidor decided to go back to university, where she became fascinated by human behaviour, and in particular the human faculty of reading - this led to her current research.

The thrill of a challenge drove Dr Chris Ewels, another of this year's winners, to take up a career in science. Being a researcher is an ideal job for him, he says, since no two days are the same when it comes to exploring the unknown. Dr Ewels' work on computer modelling of doping and defects in graphite and carbon nanotubes has taken him around Europe to the UK, Italy, Sweden and Germany. He now holds a permanent position at the French national centre for scientific research (CNRS), which he says is thanks to a European Training and Mobility of Researchers position and a Marie Curie fellowship.

According to Dr Nicolas Cerf from Belgium, mobility has been key in his career. Having worked in France for two years, his research on quantum information and quantum computation took him to sunny California. Without a doubt, both experiences have been the source of numerous and beneficial international collaborations, he says. He believes that Europe is beginning to appreciate more the work of its researchers, but it is a long way of from the level of recognition in the US. Jobs are not hard to come by in Europe, but the main problem is finding a permanent position, he says.

Other award-winners include Dr Paola Borri, Italy, for her research into semiconductor nanostructures and their ultra-fast response to laser light, and Frank Keppler, Germany, for his discovery of climate-relevant trace gasses from terrestrial ecosystems.

European funding support for the mobility of researchers is set to increase substantially in the coming years. Under Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), a total of €4 billion will be allocated to the Marie Curie Actions - This represents an increase in the budget of €2.3 billion since FP6.

Source: European Commission

Related information

Record Number: 26670 / Last updated on: 2006-11-17
Category: Policy making and guidelines
Provider: EC