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£5 million Christmas gift for researchers at University of Warwick

Researchers at the University of Warwick have picked up an early Christmas present in the form of more than £5 million worth of grants from the European Research Council (ERC).

They have been won by the Department of Sociology, the Faculty of Science and the Mathematics Institute – and will be used to fund five new projects over the next few years.

Just 55 grants were on offer for UK institutions from the ERC, which was set up by the EU in 2007 as the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research.

In sociology, Dr Alice Mah will use the cash to launch a study in the New Year looking into environmental justice and the global petrochemical industry. Her interdisciplinary project will focus on scientific expertise about the effects of toxic pollution and the ‘toxic’ way in which this expertise is (mis)used to justify a lack of corporate social responsibility by the petrochemical industry.

The University’s Department of Chemistry will use £3.9m to fund three projects. One will look to find new and more effective catalysts for alkane transformations. Another will investigate how nature's own cold defence mechanisms can be mimicked – work which could be used to help maintain blood stocks over the Christmas and holiday period. The third study aims to produce better drugs to help fight superbugs.

Meanwhile, in the Mathematics Institute, the money will go towards a project on Random Graph Geometry and Convergence (RGGC) – an intra-disciplinary research programme in pure mathematics, with graph theory at the epicentre and rich connections to other fields – led by Dr Agelos Georgakopoulos.

Notes to Editors:

Issued by Lee Page, Communications Manager, Press and Policy Office, The University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255, Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221. Email:



Lee Page, Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255

Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221