The European Research Council's very first round of grants has resulted in a stampede of young scientists eager to grab a piece of Europe's new funding pie, figures released by the European Commission show. The ERC was launched two months ago, with the goal of supporting fundamental research without any of the political strings normally attached to European Union funding. Its first round of grants, targeted to young researchers beginning their own research programs, received more than 9,000 applications, ERC president Fotis Kafatos said last week."The high response rate is a clear signal of the expectations and interest in the ERC by Europe's young scientists and a measure of the need for grants of this kind in Europe," he said in a statement. The "Starting Grants" provide support for researchers who have recently completed their doctoral studies, and want to eventually become independent research leaders. They were open...

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