A series of European Research Council (ERC) "top up" grants worth up to €150,000 each have been awarded to 30 leading researchers across Europe. Part of the ERC's new "Proof of Concept" funding initiative, these grants are being awarded to researchers who already hold ERC grants, in order to help them transform their ideas into marketable innovative solutions. The idea is to help researchers package their ideas and demonstrate commercial potential so as to appeal to potential investors.

The ERC is the first European funding body set up to support investigator-driven frontier research. Its main aim is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, scholars and engineers to be adventurous and take risks in their research. The scientists are encouraged to take an innovative approach.

ERC President Professor Helga Nowotny commented, "The Proof-of-Concept scheme has been set up to provide a bridge for ideas emerging from frontier research that might be attractive for markets. Innovation takes place in companies. We offer to ERC grantees the possibility to probe and prove the innovative potential of their ideas and we trust that many of them will find their way to be transformed into productive outcomes."