The NRF and DST congratulate Dr Carina Schlebusch who has just been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. Dr Schlebusch is the third ERC award holder from South Africa, following another Starting Grant award to Dr Lindsay Bremner, Director of Architectural Research at the University of Westminster, UK in 2015.
Dr Aldo Stroebel, Executive Director Strategic Partnerships at the NRF, is South Africa’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the ERC, appointed by the Department of Science and Technology.
Dr Schlebusch is attached to the Department of Organismal Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre at Uppsala University, Sweden. She completed her BSc, BSc (Hons) and Masters degrees in Human Genetics at the University of Pretoria. Her PhD was supervised by Prof Himla Soodyall at the University of the Witwatersrand, focusing on the history of southern African population groups, specifically the population genetics of San and Khoekhoe groups. In 2009, she moved to Uppsala University where she started a Postdoc in the laboratory of Prof Mattias Jakobsson. She continued her research in African population history at Uppsala University following the Postdoc, and presently leads a research group that investigates human evolutionary history with a focus on Africa. Dr Schlebusch held a NRF PhD bursary at Wits (2005-2007) and a FRD (pre-NRF) Hons bursary at the University of Pretoria.
ERC Starting Grants are awarded to researchers of any nationality with two to seven years of experience from the completion of the PhD (or equivalent degree) and a scientific track record showing great promise. The research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries. The funding (up to €1.5 million per grant) is provided over up to five years. Two thirds of the ERC budget is earmarked for the early-career researchers – the Starting Grant and Consolidator Grant schemes - and calls for proposals are published once a year for each scheme.
The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC has three core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants and Advanced Grants. An additional funding scheme, Synergy Grants, has been re-launched in 2017. To date, the ERC has funded 7,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe.
Key global research funding bodies in the United States, South Africa, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries, have concluded agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees' teams. The NRF concluded its agreement with the ERC in 2014.