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Two LTH researchers receive ERC Starting Grants

LTH researchers Carmelo D’Agostino and Lea Fünfschilling have each been awarded European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants for their research on automated vehicles, and on the dynamics of transformative innovation and knowledge, respectively.

Jonas Andersson and Jessika Sellergren – Published 13 January 2022

Lea Fünfschilling and Carmelo D’Agostino receive ERC Starting Grants. Photo: Robert Olsson and private

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants are intended for promising scientists in the early stages of their careers. Scientific excellence is the only selection criterion. In very stiff competition, the scientists and their projects have been ranked highest in Europe in peer-reviewed research. This year over 4,000 researchers applied for grants.

In total, 397 researchers in Europe will share EUR 619 million, which is a success rate of approximately 10 percent. In Sweden, 14 researchers were selected, two of which are at Lund University. They will receive EUR 1.5 million each.

Lea Fünfschilling

Lea Fünfschilling, a researcher in Innovation Studies at the Department of Design Sciences at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH), has received an ERC Starting Grant for the project ENDINGS – Towards a theory of endings in innovation studies.

Can you tell us a little bit about your project?

“After decades of innovation research, we know quite a lot about how new knowledge is developed and how it materializes into new products and entire societal systems. With my research, I want to shift attention towards existing institutionalized structures and what is today viewed as established knowledge to be able to break it up. I also want to draw attention to the surrounding systems where technology and people meet,” says Lea Fünfschilling.

What do you hope to achieve?

“Considering the pressing sustainability challenges in many industries and society as a whole, it’s not only important to develop new and more sustainable products and services, but to also gain a better understanding of how existing, less sustainable systems come to an end – perhaps even without having to replace them with something new.

The project will investigate how knowledge in different industries is maintained, if and how it erodes over time, and whether or not it ever dies out. Our research group will study these processes in three industries – energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and craftsmanship – in Sweden, Germany and the UK.”

What does the ERC Starting Grant mean to you?

“Receiving the grant is a real honor and an excellent opportunity for me to continue building up my own research group. I’ll hire three PhD students for the project and I’m really looking forward to developing this line of research with them in the coming five years.”

Carmelo D’Agostino

Carmelo D’Agostino is a researcher at the Division of Transport and Roads, Department of Technology and Society at LTH. He will receive ERC financing over the next five years for the research project SUperSAFE SUrrogate measures for SAFE autonomous and connected mobility.

Can you tell us a little bit about your project?

“The SUperSafe project aims to fully understand how the interaction functions between connected and automated vehicles and conventional road users, to explain this, and to relate it to digital and physical road infrastructures.”

What do you hope to achieve?

“To develop a new proactive method that can evaluate how the road infrastructure affects safety in terms of the interaction between road users, and to preventively assess how it should be designed. This will save lives by including connected and automated vehicles and road infrastructure in the paradigm shift that is in progress towards a safer traffic system.”

What does the ERC Starting grant mean to you?

“The ERC Grant is a milestone in my career. I see it as a starting point rather than an end goal in my career. This is also a clear path, with no return, to research at the highest possible level and to my commitment to science. I feel truly honored and at the same time filled with responsibility. It is such a good feeling.”

More about ERC Starting Grants – on the website of the European Research Council

ERC Starting Grant

ERC Starting Grants (ERC-StG) are intended for researchers in the early stages of their careers. Scientific excellence is the only selection criterion. Individual grants are awarded to promising researchers with 2-7 years of experience after completion of a PhD, with pioneering research ideas and a strong potential to become a future research leader. An ERC-StG grant has a maximum amount of EUR 1.5 million and a length of up to five years.

Lea Fünfschilling. Portrait photo.

Lea Fünfschilling

Lea Fünfschilling, a researcher in Innovation Studies at the Department of Design Sciences, LTH. She is also affiliated with Circle (Centre for Innovation Research at Lund University).

Lea Fünfschilling's profile page  in Lund University’s Research Portal

Carmelo D’Agostino. Portrait photo.

Carmelo D’Agostino

Carmelo D’Agostino is a researcher at the Divsion of Transport and Roads, LTH.

Carmelo D’Agostino's profile page  in Lund University’s Research Portal