The European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants will help outstanding research leaders across Europe to explore their most innovative and ambitious ideas.
With this latest award, the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ-CERCA) has accumulated a sum of 25 grants from the ERC.
ICIQ director and ICREA Professor Emilio Palomares has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant. These grants are worth up to €2.5 million for a five-year project and have been announced today.
The ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive EU funding schemes, providing researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. They are awarded to established, leading researchers with a proven track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.
In the case of Prof. Palomares, he will undertake the project entitled ‘Engineering Excited States, Orbital Coupling and Quantum Coherence Phenomena in Photoelectrochemical Energy Conversion Devices’ (Excited), that aims to advance fundamental understanding to light-initiated reactions in molecular sensitizers that can display quantum-coherent behaviour in their excited state dynamics at room temperature. Moreover, the project will also investigate the quantum coherent contributions to the solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency in molecular solar cells.
An Exciting project ahead
Excited is not simply focused on the fabrication of molecular solar cells and measuring their physical properties. The project goes well beyond that and will pave the way for the development of solar cells that will be tailor-made to take advantage of quantum coherence, molecular hybridization and orbital coupling effects between the electron-donor couple.
With the experience in advanced experimental time-resolved techniques, Excited willexplore quantum coherence effects and solar cells under operando conditions and for sure will have a key impact on several fields, from biology to chemistry and physics bringing paramount breakthroughs in the use of modified interfaces resulting in optimize novel thin film solar cell technologies that leverage quantum coherence phenomena and orbital coupling effects.
“For years quantum coherence in molecular systems have been proposed and studied but the effects of this amazing phenomena in devices still remains elusive. Excited aims to study model molecular systems with quantum coherence properties that can be applied in functional devices and correlate their molecular structure-physical processes with the device efficiency.” says Palomares.
This is the third ERC grant awarded to Emilio Palomares. In the domain of Physical Sciences and Engineering, 711 proposals were submitted and only 94 projects, Excited among them, received funding. “I feel honored by getting this recognition from my peers in such as competitive and worldwide recognized funding program. Is such an exciting research project at the boundaries of many scientific disciplines, which explores the edges of the fastest processes in nature.” emphasizes Emilio Palomares.
The funding will facilitate the recruitment of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, providing them with valuable support for the development of their careers and enhancing their skills as researchers. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary team that works towards achieving outstanding scientific outcomes. “ERC grants are a top recognition and a significant commitment from our best researchers. The €544 million funding puts our 218 research leaders, together with their teams of postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and research staff, in pole position to push back the boundaries of our knowledge, break new ground and build foundations for future growth and prosperity in Europe,” commented the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.
With the new project, ICIQ adds a total of 25 ERC projects. This is ICIQ’s fifth ERC Advanced Grant of a total of 16 ERC Grants (five Advanced, three Consolidator, eight Starting) and 9 ERC Proof of Concept obtained since the ERC’s grants programme began in 2007. Excited is the third ERC Grant as part of the Horizon Europe programme.
About Prof. Emilio Palomares
Emilio Palomares (València,1974) studied Biology at the UVEG (1997). After graduating he joined Prof. Hermenegildo García’s group at the UPV-ITQ-CSIC where he got his PhD (2001). In 2001 he was awarded a “Marie Curie” Fellowship ICL (London, UK). There he began his work with molecular devices for energy conversion, under the direction of Prof. James R. Durrant. In 2004 Emilio got a “Ramón y Cajal” Fellowship at the ICMolUVEG. In April 2006 he took a position at ICIQ. Since 2009 he is an ICREA research Professor at ICIQ. In 2009 he was awarded a ERC Starting grant to work on quantum dots for energy conversion devices and a ERC PoC in 2015 to bring research to the market developing a demo system for rapid detection of cystic fibrosis in humans. In 2006, Prof. Palomares got the Young Chemist Award by the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry and in 2010, the INNOVA 2010 Award by the SusChem Spanish Association. In 2019 he was awarded with Energy & Environmental Solutions International Chair (E2S) by the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA). Later in 2020, September, he was elected ICIQ Director for the next 5 years.
About the ERC
The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept Grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.
This call for proposals attracted nearly 1.650 applications and 218 were funded with a total of €544 million (success rate of 13,2%). Female researchers account for 23% of all applications, their highest participation rate in Advanced Grant calls up to now.