The European Research Council (ERC) has announced 66 new Proof of Concept Grants in the second round of the 2023 competition. The grants – each worth 150.000 euros – help researchers bridge the gap between the discoveries stemming from their frontier research and the practical application of the findings, including the early phases of their commercialization. André Nadler, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), is one of the researchers who received one of the new Proof of Concept Grants. He was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2017. With this top-up grant for the next 18 months, the team can now explore the commercial potential of their findings.
André Nadler and his colleague Juan Manuel Iglesias-Artola will co-lead a team of scientists developing a readily accessible solution for visualizing lipids using microscopic techniques for academic and industrial researchers. This is important to gain a better understanding of lipid transport, which can then translate into better therapies and more efficient drug development. Dysregulation of lipid transport is central to many diseases, and it is often a cause for clinical trials to fail. “By offering early detection of drug candidates that alter lipid transport, our planned ready-to-use kits and devices could reduce costs for the pharmaceutical industry as well as contribute to finding novel treatments for liver diseases,” says André Nadler. He will work in close collaboration with the screening facility and the mechanical workshop at MPI-CBG.
The Proof of Concept grant scheme is open only to researchers who are or have previously been awarded ERC frontier research grants. These top-up grants help to explore the commercial or societal potential of the findings researchers make through their ERC projects. The objective is to enable ERC-funded ideas to progress on the path from ground-breaking research towards innovation. The funding is part of the EU's research and innovation program, Horizon Europe.