The NRF and DST congratulate Dr Mike Quayle who has just been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. Dr Quayle is the fourth ERC award holder from South Africa, following other awards to Dr Carina Schlebusch at Uppsala University, Sweden in 2016, and 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.
Dr Quayle is a lecturer at the University of Limerick and an honorary senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa, having taught at UKZN during 2002-2012. He has held numerous NRF grants, including Thuthuka grants during 2013-2015. After completing undergraduate and Masters degrees at UKZN, he completed a PhD on a Commonwealth split-site scholarship at the Universities of St Andrews and UKZN. His research explores the politics of identity, and how the local and immediate concerns of identity enactment can impact on broader socio-political processes. Specifically, he explores identity in gender and masculinity, race and racism, social identity and intergroup relations, identity and health, and stereotype threat, with collaborators in numerous countries. His ERC research programme explores attitudes in social networks building on work in collaboration with colleagues at UKZN and the University of Cape Town.
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 significant potential. 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.
The NRF concluded an agreement with the ERC in 2014. Key global research funding bodies in the United States, South Africa, China, Japan and Brazil have concluded agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees' teams.