ERC Synergy grants for research at Hamburg University

Millions in funding for projects focusing on biophysics, cultural studies and cancer research
06 November 2023
Gebäude der Uni Hamburg

Researchers at the University of Hamburg have received European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grants for three projects, a press release said Thursday (October 26, 2023). The researchers are working on the functioning of proteins, new methods for analysing Buddhist texts and the cultural history of artificial refrigeration. 

Beneficiaries in various disciplines

The award-winning projects research phenomena in biophysics and cultural studies. Each project is set to receive around EUR 10 million with a proportion of the money going to the university. The recipients also gain access to various co-operating scientific institutions.  "I would like to congratulate all award winners on this success, which underlines the thematic breadth of the University of Hamburg," said Prof. Dr Hauke Heekeren, who praised the "outstanding personalities" and the "great scientific achievements".

Outline of projects 

A total of EUR 11 million has been awarded to the "GRAIL" project, headed by Dr Arwen Pearson, Professor of Experimental Biophysics and Dr. Irene Fernandez-Cuesta. Research focuses on new insights into the structure-function dynamics of membrane proteins, which are key to developing medicine for cancer and Parkinson's disease, among others. Meanwhile, researchers in the Asia-Africa Institute of the Faculty of Humanities and members of a computer science team at the Reichman University in Israel are working on the Intellexus project headed by Dr. Orna Almogi, Prof. Dr. Harunaga Isaacson und Prof. Dr. Dorji Wangchuk. Their project uses state-of-the-art, computer-aided tools to study ancient Indian and Tibetan literature and has received EUR 10 million of which EUR 7 million is going to the university. A third project called CultCryo, headed by Prof. Dr. Chris Biemann, has received around EUR 9.9 million for research into infrastructure and consequences of artificial cooling systems.