ERC Consolidator Grants for SNI members

Theoretical foundations for future quantum technologies

Prof. Dr. Jelena Klinovaja. (Photo: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

Prof. Dr. Jelena Klinovaja. (Photo: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

The project of Professor Jelena Klinovaja addresses challenges in the field of topological quantum matter. So-called topological qubits could be suitable to reliably encode information for a quantum computer and overcome the shortcomings of conventional qubits.

Jelena Klinovaja is researching new methods to induce and selectively modify topological phases. Her project focuses on various topological phases arising in semiconductors with strong spin-orbit interactions due to superconductivity that is induced by photons in quantum cavities. This novel way of inducing superconducting pairing by coupling quantum light to quantum matter opens entirely new perspectives for both the generation of novel topological phases and their manipulation.

Jelena Klinovaja has been an assistant professor since 2014 and associate professor of physics (theoretical nano/quantum physics) in Basel since 2018. In 2017, she was awarded a Starting Grant by the ERC.


Engineering of artificial binding proteins

Prof. Dr. Michael Nash

Prof. Dr. Michael Nash

Directing nanoscale particles to adhere strongly to certain cells and tissues is a difficult biophysical problem and at the same time an interesting clinical prospect. Today, monoclonal antibodies are often used for this purpose, for example, to bind specifically to cancer cells and introduce a substance that causes the cell to die. However, antibodies are known to unbind at extremely low forces.

In his ERC-funded project, Professor Michael Nash wants to develop artificial binding proteins that form mechanically stable complexes with their target ligands. These could be used, for example, to deliver drugs in the form of nanoparticles as well as for medical imaging.

Michael Nash has been assistant professor since 2016 and associate professor for engineering of synthetic systems since 2021, as part of a dual professorship with ETH Zurich. In 2016, he was awarded a Starting Grant by the ERC.

Financing through Swiss federal funds

At the time of the ERC Consolidator Grants 2021 deadline, Switzerland was still eligible for ERC funding. Researchers at Swiss institutions were able to submit applications and their research proposals were evaluated by the ERC.

Following the breakdown of the negotiations between the EU and Switzerland, as well as the European Commission’s decision to treat Switzerland as a non-associated third country, the successful projects will now be funded directly by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) with an average of CHF 2 million. This is one of the interim measures that the Swiss government is taking to cushion the consequences of Switzerland’s exclusion from Horizon Europe.

This was the last ERC call that Swiss-based researchers were eligible to apply to. The Swiss National Science Foundation has launched transitional measures to establish similar calls for researchers based in Switzerland, or those who wish to carry out their project at a Swiss Host Institutions. In addition, many of the Horizon Europe Calls remain open to Swiss research groups, who can participate as project partners and will be financed by the SERI.

Full information by University of Basel