European advanced grant for professor TU/e

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 23 advanced grants of up to €2.5 million to highly experienced researchers from Dutch knowledge institutions. More awards to Dutch researchers may follow. Full professor Jan van Hest receives the maximum amount for research on creating artificial tissue.

photo iStock | Zerbor

Professor Jan van Hest of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry receives the grant for his research 'Protein-regulated artificial cell populations and tissues'. It is the second time he has won the prestigious grant, but 'it was just as exciting as the first time.' He received the news late last month when he was in Canada; because of the time difference, the news reached him at night. After that, he could not catch his sleep.

The new research is a precursor to the project with which he won the earlier grant. "We investigated how to make artificial cells. These are particles similar to our own life cells. Those cells communicate and cooperate with each other. That way they are capable of more." A large group of cells working together is called tissue, and that's exactly what his new research is about. "We continue to improve the development process for artificial cells, but now we're taking it one step further. We're going to see how we can form those artificial cells into artificial tissue." Eventually, the artificial tissue could be used to test drugs on, for example.

Top 4

Despite its small size, the Netherlands has consistently secured numerous ERC grants over the years. Last year, the number of advanced grants awarded suddenly fell somewhat short of expectations and the Netherlands ranked seventh with 14 awards. However, in the 2023 funding round, the Netherlands is back in the top 4, with 23 of the 255 grants awarded. It was only outperformed by Germany (50 grants), the United Kingdom (42 grants), and France (37 grants).

A total of €652 million was distributed in this round. The success rate of applicants was nearly 14 percent.


The awards are still provisional, however, as the UK has chosen not to participate in the European research programme since Brexit. The scientists selected from UK universities will therefore only receive the grant if they take it to a research institution in a country that does participate in the programme. This restriction will no longer apply in 2024, when the UK is due to rejoin the research programme.

Therefore, if they choose not to transfer to another country, they will not receive the ERC grant. However, they will then receive a similar grant from the UK government, which has continued to recognise selections made by the ERC.

Reserve list

European grant funding then becomes available and is allocated to reserve listed researchers who just missed out. Dutch institutions may also benefit from this. For now, most grants are going to the two universities in Amsterdam, Utrecht University and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI).

Each year, the ERC distributes grants among young researchers (starting grants of up to €1.5 million), experienced researchers (consolidator grants of €2 million) and top researchers (advanced grants of €2.5 million).

The grants are similar to the Veni, Vidi and Vici grants in the Dutch Research Council’s Talent Programme, although the European grants are higher.

Advanced Grants 2023


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Universiteit van Amsterdam


Universiteit Utrecht


Nederlands Kanker Instituut


Radboud Universiteit






Universiteit Twente


TU Eindhoven


Universiteit Maastricht


Universiteit van Amsterdam AMC


Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht




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