Horizon Europe

ERC Grants

44 University of Bergen researchers have received the prestigious grants for frontier science from the European Research Council (ERC).

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The European Research Council (ERC) funds frontier research and ideas. Research projects should be novel and ground-breaking with a significant element of risk. Grants are awarded to researchers working in Europe, across all diciplines. 44 UiB researchers have been awarded ERC Grants since 2007.

Frontier Science at University of Bergen

News and results from ERC projects are presented in our web series:

Eystein Jansen elected Vice President of the ERC 

Climate scientist Eystein Jansen has been elected Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC). He is the first Norwegian researcher to join the leadership of the elite division for European research. Read the story here.

A jigsaw puzzle of climate change in the Arctic

Kerim Nisancioglou på Grønland

Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu.


What will be the consequences of the Greenland and Arctic ice melting at an alarming pace? This was one of the questions Professors Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu, Eystein Jansen and colleagues wanted to find answers to in the largest ever ERC project in the Nordic countries; the Synergy Grant Ice2Ice project. Read the full story.

Inga Berre was named ERC recipient number 10.000

Inga Berre

Inga Berre.

Ole Marius Kvamme

Professor Inga Berre will use applied mathematics in order to understand what happens underground when heat is extracted from the Earth's interior. I 2021, she was named ERC recipient number 10.000 by ERC. Read the full story

Researchers with ERC grants at UiB


ERC Starting Grant

Adriana Bunea

Department of Comparative Politics


Effects of stakeholder consultations on the inputs, processes and outcomes of executive policymaking

The project aims to investigate stakeholder consultations as institutions of political participation and representation, and to systematically study their effects on policy inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes of executive policymaking in 29 political systems: all 28 EU Member States and the EU polity. Read more here

Iain G. Johnston

Department of Mathematics

EvoConBiO (2019-2024)

Uncovering and engineering the principles governing evolution and cellular control of bioenergetic organelles

Complex life on Earth is powered by mitochondria and chloroplasts - compartments within cells where respiration and photosynthesis take place. These organelles have their own genomes, mtDNA and cpDNA, which encode vital energetic machinery. These genomes vary tremendously across life, and mutations in them can cause serious problems including deadly inherited human diseases. So why do organisms retain these genomes atall, and how do they mitigate against mutational damage? EvoConBiO will investigate a hypothesised universal tension between robustness and control that shapes how organelle genomes have evolved, how they are controlled and protected by modern-day cells, and how scientists may intervene to improve bioenergetic performance in important crop and biofuel species. Read more about EvoConBio here.

Timothy Lynagh

Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology

iGLURs- A NEW VIEW (2018-2023)

Exposing Nature’s View of Ligand Recognition in Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors

This project aims to establish the complete evolutionary and chemical basis for ligand recognition in ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs). Read more here.

Randi Jacobsen Bertelsen

Department of Clinical Science

BRuSH (2019-2024)

Oral Bacteria as determinants for respiratory health

BRuSH will examine of bacteria in the oral cavity can have an influence on the health of our respiratory system. Read more about the project here.

Scott Bremer

Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT)

CALENDARS (2019-2023)

Co-production of seasonal representations for adaptive institutions

How can we live by the rhythms of the seasons, when these rhythms seem to be changing quickly? Scott Bremer is looking at how rapid seasonal changes are affecting institutions in society and how we can re-learn and adapt to seasonal change in new ways. Read more here.

Hans Christian Steen-Larsen

Geophysical Institute

SNOWISO (2018-2022)

Signals from the Surface Snow: Post-Depositional Processes Controlling the Ice Core Isotopic Fingerprint

Hans Christian Steen-Larsen wants to examine if the hypothesis that isotopes found in ice cores can be used as indicators of past climate is still valid. Pilot experiments have shown that the isotope record from an ice core is determined by a combination of the atmospheric water vapor isotope signal, the precipitation isotope signal, and post-depositional processes.

Katrine Vellesen Løken

Norwegian School of Economics and Department of Economics

CIVICS (2018-2022)

Criminality, Victimization and Social Interactions

With CIVICS, Løken wants to establish a broader understanding of the economy of crime, by taking the social context of crime into account and looking at crime as the group activity it usually is.

“We want our research to help decision-makers make better use of resources, both in terms of preventive measures and rehabilitation of convicted criminals,” says Løken about the ambitious goal and the societal relevance of the CIVICS project.

In the project description, it is also emphasized that CIVICS will contribute to a better understanding of criminal networks and their social context, in order to help authorities prevent the establishment of such networks by improving social assistance measures. The project is carried out at the Norwegian School of Economics.

Daniel Lokshtanov

Department of Informatics

PaPaAlg (2017-2022)

Pareto-Optimal Parameterized Algorithms

Professor Daniel Lokshtanov at the Department of Informatics was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in August 2016. His project revises the foundations of parameterized complexity, a modern multi-variate approach to algorithm design, and proposes the first truly multi-dimensional framework for comparing the running times of parameterized algorithms. The successful completion of this project will take parameterized complexity far beyond the state of the art, make parameterized algorithms more relevant for practical applications, and significantly advance adjacent subfields of theoretical computer science and mathematics. Read more here.

Anna Nele Meckler

Department of Earth Science

C4T (2015-2020)
Climate change across Cenozoic cooling steps reconstructed with clumped isotope thermometry

Anna Nele Meckler has her background from environmental science and geology. She specialises in reconstructions of past climate using ocean sediments and cave rock (stalagmite) as archives. The C4T project will mainly focus on 1) decreasing the necessary sample size as much as possible and 2) investigating secondary influences besides temperature. The proxy allows reconstruction of ocean temperature and global ice volume changes across major glaciation events in different eras. Read more here.

C4T in ERCs project database

Saket Saurabh

Department of Informatics

PARAPPROX (2013-2018)
Parameterized Approximation 

Professor Saket Saurabh at the Department of Informatics was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in June 2012. His research interests lie mainly in algorithms and graph theory. He is also a member of the Bergen Algorithms Research Group, underlining the strong algorithms research environment in Bergen. Read more here.

PARAPPROX in ERCs project database

ERC Consolidator Grant

Inga Berre

Department of Mathematics

MaPSI (2021-2026)

Mathematical and Numerical Modelling of Process-Structure Interaction in Fractured Geothermal Systems

Complex dynamics such as boiling of geothermal fluids and deformation of fractured rock, resulting from the development and production of high-temperature geothermal resources, are not well understood. The EU-funded MaPSI project will provide the necessary mathematical models and simulation technology to assess subsurface process–structure interaction in the context of hydraulic and thermal stimulation during the development and production of high-temperature geothermal resources. The project will develop pioneering mathematical and numerical models to simulate multiphase flow and phase-change thermo-poroelastic media with deforming and propagating fractures. MaPSI will advance expertise and improve understanding of coupled processes in high-temperature geothermal systems development and production aiming at sustainable resource exploitation.


Elisabeth Ivarsflaten

Department of Comparative Politics

INCLUDE (2021-2026)

Openings to the Inclusion of Muslim Minorities in Today’s Democracies

Professor Elisabeth Ivarsflaten receives the ERC Consolidator Grant for the project "INCLUDE". The project addresses one of the most fundamental challenges of our time; how to live peacefully together as diverse societies. Read more here.


Nele Meckler

Department of Earth Sciences

FluidMICS (2021-2026)

Fluid Inclusion Microthermometry in Speleothems

Nele Meckler was the first female researcher to obtain an ERC Starting Grant at UiB. For her new project she and her colleagues will measure climate data of the past, by studying stalagmites in tropical caves, where tiny drops of water are preserved from the time when the water dripped from the cave ceiling. Read more here.


Ragnhild Muriaas

Department of Comparative Politics

SUCCESS (2021-2026)

Gender-Gap in Political Endurance: a novel political inclusion theory

Professor Ragnhild Muriaas at the Department of Comparative Politics will shed light on what makes women leave politics faster than men, and what makes them stay. With the project, she will launch a completely new way of understanding gender balance in politics. Read more here.


Saket Saurabh

Department of Informatics

LOPRE (2019-2024)

Lossy Preprocessing

Saket Saurabh is the first UiB researcher to embark on an ERC Consolidator grant after successful completion of an ERC starting grant. His new project will revolutionise how we handle, utlise and compress big data. Read more here.


Thomas Arnesen

Department of Biomedicine

Nteract (2018-2023)

Discovery and functional significance of post-translational N-terminal acetylation

Thomas Arnesen will study a gene that controls cell motion and how it is turned on and off. Read more about the project here (NB- the news article is in norwegian).


Jill Walker Rettberg

Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic studies

MachineVision (2018-2023)

Machine Vision in everyday life: Playful Interactions with Visual Technologies in Digital Art, Games, Narratives and Social Media

Jill Rettberg will study cultural effects of machine vision that we experience for instance through the use of Snap Chat. Read more here.


Harald Sodemann

Geophysical Institute

ISLAS (2018-2023)

Isotopic links to atmospheric water´s sources

Harald Sodemann will use new technology to trace water vapour and its significance for weather prediction and climate models. Read more here.


Marit Skivenes

Department of Administration and Organisation Theory

DISCRETION (2017 - 2022)

Discretion and the child´s best interests in child protection

Professor Marit Skivenes has received the grant to conduct ground-breaking research on discretionary decision-making in child protection systems. Read more here.

Andreas H. Hejnol

Sars International Centre for Marine Biology

EVOMESODERM (2015-2020)
The evolution of mesoderm and its differentiation into cell types and organ systems

Andreas H. Hejnol and his team set out to find answers to an essential question about animal evolution: What is the nature of the molecular and genomic changes that gave rise to the animal diversity we have on this planet? In the project EVOMESODERM they aim to reconstruct the evolutionary history of specific embryonic cells of animals, the so-called mesoderm, on the search for new insights about the formation of more complex animal organ systems, such as musculature, blood vascular systems and the human kidney. Read more about the project here.

EVOMESODERM in ERCs project database

Noel Keenlyside

Geophysical institute / Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

STERCP (2015-2020)
Synchronisation to enhance reliability of climate prediction

STERCP aims to investigate the potential of an innovative technique to reduce systematic error in current climate models, and hence to improve climate prediction skill and reduce uncertainties in future climate projections. Read more.

STERCP in ERCs project database


ERC Advanced Grant

Rolv Skjærven

Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care

HealthierWomen (2019-2024)

A woman's reproductive experience: Long-term implications for chronic disease and death

The purpose of the new research project is to investigate how pregnancy complications affect women's future health. Read more here.

John Birks

Department of Biology

HOPE (2017-2022)

Humans on Planet Earth-Long term impact on biosphere dynamics

We know that humans have changed the Earth in the last 8000 years, through agriculture, erosion, modifying water and nutrient budgets and so on. The HOPE project wants to elucidate whether early humans modified these major ecological processes. Read more here.

Bruce Kapferer

Department of Social Anthropology

Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons

Professor Bruce Kapferer at the Department of Social Anthropology asks how greater inequality creates divisions in society. This is one of the central issues of his research project Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons. The project aims to study egalitarian structures and processes and the underlying values that inform them through methods the reseachers themselves describes as guerilla anthropology. Read more about the project here.

EGALITARIANISM in ERCs project database

Pål Rasmus Njølstad

Department of Clinical Science

Novel Tools for Early Childhood Predisposition to Obesity

What roles do diets and genetics play in the development of obesity and diabetes? This is one of the questions Professor Pål Rasmus Njølstad at the KG Jebsen Centre for Diabetes Research is working on. Njølstad has recieved the grant for for his study of diet and genetics among mothers and children in Norway. Read more about the project here.

SELECTionPREDISPOSED in ERCs project database

Nikolai Østgaard

Department of Physics and Technology

TGF-MEPPA (2013-2018)
Terrestrial Gamma Flashes - the Most Energetic Photon Phenomenon in our Atmosphere

In the TGF-MEPPA project Professor Nikolai Østgaard and his colleagues at the Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS) look at how earth connects electrically to space. The main phenomenon of interest are the so-called gamma ray bursts (GRBs) that occur in clouds during thunderstorms. The first challenge is to map how common GRBs are, and under which presice conditions they occur. Read more about the project here.

TGF-MEPPA in ERCs project database

Fedor Fomin

Department of Informatics

Rigorous Theory of Preprocessing

Using an Internet search engine to find the hottest restaurant in town? Letting your car’s GPS tell you where to turn left to reach the parking house? Then most certainly, an algorithm has helped you. Professor and ERC Advanced Grant holder Fedor Fomin and the Bergen Algorithms Research Group develop new mathematical theories to provide better algorithms. Read more about their work here.

PREPRPOCESSING in ERCs project database

Kenneth Hugdahl

Department of Biological and Medical Psychology

ONOFF (2016-2021)
Perception of voices that do not exist: Tracking the temporal signatures of auditory hallucinations

In his new project, Kenneth Hugdahl will use and develop new technology to help patients who are hearing voices. This research could represent a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. Read more about the project here.

ONOFF in ERCs project database

VOICE (2011-2016)

The VOICE project has contributed to revealing the underlying processes in the brain which makes patients with schizophrenia experience “hearing a voice” in the absence of a corresponding external source. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the researchers found areas in the brain to be abnormally involved in “voice hearing”. Watch a video about the project here.

VOICE in ERCs project database

Christopher Henshilwood

Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion

TRACSYMBOLS (2010-2015)

Tracing the evolution of symbolically mediated behaviours within variable environments in Europe and southern Africa

A key aspect of the project TRACSYMBOLS was examining how environmental change may have affected the behavioural patterns of Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals in southern parts of Africa and Europe during, respectively, the Middle Stone Age and Mousterian/Chatelperronian. Co-PI was Professor Francesco D´Errico from the University of Bordeaux. Watch a video that summarises some of the key findings here. You can also look at the group´s open face book group here.

Frede Thingstad

Department of Biology

MINOS (2010-2015)

Microbial Network Organisation

The present marine food web can be seen as the result of a 4 billion year old antagonistic arms race where today’s organisms co-exist in a balance between resource availability, competition and defense.  MINOS has contributed to experiments and theoretical models that help us understand the mechanisms that make some species dominant, how the marine food web is structured, and how the ecosystem in the Polar ocean functions.

MINOS in ERCs project database

ERC Synergy Grant

The ERC Synergy Grants  enable a  group of 2-4 Principal Investigators and their teams to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources in new ways, in order to jointly address research problems of high scientific importance.

Andrea Bender

Department of Psychosocial Science

QUANTA (2021-2027)

The Evolution of Cognitive Tools for Quantification

Together with her Co-PIs Rafael Núñez, Francesco d´Errico and Russell Gray Andrea Bender will look at the factors that lead to differences in how we use quantity and number systems.

Eystein Jansen / Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu

Department of Earth Science

ICE2ICE (2014 - 2019)
Arctic Sea Ice and Greenland Ice Sheet Sensitivity

UiB professors Eystein Jansen and Kerim Nisancioglu are two of four principal investigators in ICE2ICE, an interdisciplinary climate project, encompassing Danish and Norwegian researchers, which aims to investigate what will happen with the Greenland ice sheet if the sea ice in the Norwegian Sea and the Arctic Ocean disappears. Ice2Ice combines understanding of interconnections of sea-ice and the Greenland ice sheet in the past with research on modern and future conditions.

Project homepage
News article on ICE2ICE

This page is updated by Katie Anders and Åshild Nylund

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