Christof Sparr receives ERC Consolidator Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) awards three researchers from the University of Basel with one of the coveted ERC Consolidator Grants. The projects in the fields of biomedicine, molecular biology and chemistry will each receive funding of around 2 million Euros.

The European Research Council (ERC) today announced the recipients of this year’s ERC Consolidator Grants: A total of 327 applicants from all over Europe have been awarded this prestigious grant including three researchers from the University of Basel. Among these are three researchers from the University of Basel: Prof. Dr. Christof Sparr (Department of Chemistry) Prof. Dr. Nicola Aceto (Department of Biomedicine), and Prof. Dr. Médéric Diard (Biozentrum).

With the Consolidator Grants, the ERC supports highly qualified young scientists with several years of research experience and a promising scientific track-record. They receive an average of around two million euros for their projects over a period of five years.

Control over higher-order stereogenic elements

Prof. Dr. Christof Sparr. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Chemistry)

Prof. Dr. Christof Sparr. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Chemistry)

Prof. Dr. Christof Sparr investigates new synthetic methods to control the configuration of stereoisomers with higher-order stereogenic elements. These are chemical compounds with identical binding patterns that differ in the spatial arrangements of their atoms.

His project focuses on stereoisomers with three- to sixfold stereogenicity. Previous catalytic methods differentiate stereogenic elements with twofold stereogenicity, allowing a selective and more sustainable synthesis of a multitude of bioactive compounds. The anticipated selectivity over higher-order stereogenic elements would significantly expand the synthetically accessible stereochemical space and thereby firmly interconnect the concepts of conformational analysis and stereoselective catalysis.

Christof Sparr has been an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Basel since 2016. He was awarded the Werner Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society in 2017 and the Ruzicka Prize in 2018.

European support for excellent scientists

The ERC Consolidator Grants are a funding instrument within the framework of Horizon 2020 to realize high-risk research projects with high potential. This year, the ERC received 2506 research proposals, from which 13 percent will be funded. Thereof 21 ERC Consolidator Grants went to institutions in Switzerland and three to the University of Basel. The next deadline for proposals is 20 April 2021 (tbc).