Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement – Horizon 2020 success

By Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

On the 26 September 2019 we had our first Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement of the new academic year, where we celebrated the hugely successful Horizon 2020 Awards.

Academics at the awards celebration
The Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) celebrating with the Horizon 2020 Awardees at the September Provost Celebration for Academic Achievement

If you aren’t already aware, Horizon 2020 is the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It’s worth €80 billion and has been running since 2014 (ends 2020). The programme is unique in its size and scope and gives us the opportunity to not only engage in blue sky research across all research disciplines, but also to bring the brightest early career researchers to Bristol and to collaborate with the best researchers around Europe and the world.

The University of Bristol has been very successful in attracting funding from Horizon 2020. Since 2014 we have participated in over 200 grants worth more than €116 million in research funding. This includes hosting over 66 Marie Curie Fellows, having over 45 prestigious ERC grants awarded to our academics and taking part in hundreds of projects resulting in thousands of collaborative partners around the world. In 2019 alone, we received 10 new Marie Curie Fellows, six new ERC awardees and another 15 collaborative partnerships funded.

The list of this year’s award winners is long and impressive. To give just a few examples, both Professor Imre Berger, for his project ‘Precision Docking of Very Large DNA Cargos in Genomes’, and Professor Sarah Street, for her STUDIOTEC project ‘Film Studios: Infrastructure, Culture, Innovation in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, 1930-60’, were awarded ERC Advanced Grants worth over €4 million. ERC Starting Grants worth almost €4.5 million were also awarded to Professor Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder for her project ‘Developmental Origins: exploring the Nature-Nurture Interplay’, Professor Madhu Krishnan for her project ‘Literary Activism in sub-Saharan Africa: Commons, Publics and Networks of Practice’ and to Dr Jason Konek for his project ‘Epistemic Utility for Imprecise Probability’.

Politically the future relationship with the EC is unknown. However, this doesn’t stop us collaborating with our research partners internationally and competing for funding through Horizon 2020. Whether a deal is agreed between the EC and the UK or not, all projects awarded will be fully funded and all applications submitted prior to leaving will be reviewed and, if successful, fully funded. We will also still be able to submit applications to collaborate with our research partners.  Horizon Europe, the new research funding mechanism of the EC from 2021 is worth €100 billion. The UK is fully committed to full participation in the programme, so whatever happens with Brexit, it should be business as usual.

Congratulations and thank you again to everyone involved in obtaining this fantastic achievement. We’re looking forward to the next Provost Celebration later in October. If you have any ideas for a future Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement, please do email

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