ZAGREB, March 17, 2018 – As part of his visit to Croatia, the President of the European Research Council (ERC) Jean-Pierre Bourguignon visited Zagreb’s Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) where he was informed in detail about two ERC projects being conducted by IRB researchers Iva Tolić and Ana Sunčana Smith as project leaders.
Of a total of five Croatian projects that have received ERC grants, two, worth 3.5 million euros, are being conducted at IRB and they are groundbreaking projects leading to new insights, the IRB said in a press release. ERC grants are often referred to as the science Oscars.
Tolić’s project – a new class of microtubules in the spindle exerting forces on kinetochores – NewSpindleForce – has received a grant of more than two million euro for a period of five years.
Smith’s project – Biological Membranes in Action: A Unified Approach to Complexation, Scaffolding and Active Transport – MEMBRANESACT – has received a grant of 1.5 million euro.
Thanks to those projects, Tolić and Smith have formed their own groups, employed young researchers and equipped their laboratories with state of the art equipment. They have already achieved significant scientific results and published them in leading science journals.
During his visit to the IRB, Bourguignon met with the leaders of other projects being financed by the ERC – Vernesa Smolčić and Neven Žitomir Barišić of Zagreb’s Faculty of Science (PMF) and Stipan Jonjić of the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka. He also met with Zagreb University Deputy Chancellor Miloš Judas, PMF Dean Aleksandra Čižmešija and IRB Director David Matthew Smith.
It is a great honour for the IRB to be able to welcome the first man of the most prestigious European research organisation, which confirms the exceptionally positive reputation the IRB has in international science circles, Smith said.
In addition to the PMF, the IRB is the only research institution in Croatia that has two projects financed by the ERC, Smith said, adding that he was particularly pleased that the projects financed by the ERC were led by two young scientists who had engaged excellent young researchers and had already achieved results that were changing existing scientific insights.