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Elżbieta Drążkiewicz. Foto: Katarína Gáliková

ERC grant worth EUR 1.5 million is coming to Slovakia after ten years

22. 11. 2022 | 534 visits

Today, the European Research Council (ERC) published the names of the successful applicants for the prestigious scientific grant within the ERC Starting Grant scheme. The financial allocation worth EUR 636 million will be divided among 408 young scientific talents. A significant investment will enable excellent researchers at the beginning of their scientific careers to launch their own projects, form teams and realize their promising ideas. Among the 2,932 registered proposals, the project on conspiracy theories, whose author is the social anthropologist Elżbieta Drążkiewicz from the Institute for Sociology SAS, was also successful. 

“Congratulations to Dr. Drążkiewicz. I am very happy that thanks to her, Slovakia managed to score points in the European research area. I believe that this success will not be the last. We in Slovakia have plenty of thoughts and ideas worthy of an ERC grant. However, the ability to transform them into a high-quality project that is easy to understand for opponents who demand extreme quality is important. I keep my fingers crossed for all colleagues who will apply for ERC grants and hope that they will be successful," states the President of the SAS, prof. Pavol Šajgalik.

E. Drążkiewicz's project entitled Conflicts due to conspiracy theories focuses on analysing the growing tension related to conspiracy theories across Europe. Its aim is to understand how these conflicts are influenced by social contexts and how they develop in different European environments.

"In the project, we will investigate how conflicts for the truth are formed. We will study not only how people spread conspiracy theories, but also how others fight against them. I will build a research team with which we will carry out case studies in several European countries. It is very exciting for me to have the opportunity to work on my dream project. I worked for a very long time to achieve this kind of success," emphasized E. Drążkiewicz. The project will be realized at the Institute for Sociology SAS. It will start next spring and last 5 years.

The most successful countries in which ERC Starting Grant winners proposed to implement their projects include Germany (81 projects), the United Kingdom (70 projects), the Netherlands (40 projects) and France (39 projects). Slovakia has long been at the bottom of the charts in the number of received ERC grants. So far, two ERC grants have been awarded to research in Slovakia from the ERC Starting Grant and ERC Proof of Concept Grant schemes. The beneficiary of both grants was nanobiotechnologist Ján Tkáč from the Institute of Chemistry SAS.

Applying for ERC calls is preceded by several months of detailed project preparation, which is then subjected to a strict evaluation. In Slovakia, the National Horizon office helps the scientific community with the demanding process. SAS researchers also have institutional support in applying for prestigious European grants, and they can use the services of the EU Project Support Office established at the Office of the SAS.

Elżbieta Drążkiewicz received her doctorate in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She is a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology SAS and occasionally teaches at the University of Vienna. From 2014 - 2016, she was a scholarship holder within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme at Maynooth University in Ireland, and worked there in the position of associate professor.

In her research, she currently focuses on conspiracy theories. She is the main researcher of the CHASE REDACT project, which analyses how digitization shapes the form, content and consequences of conspiracy theories, and the head of the APVV PanTruth project, analysing the conspiracy environment in the  Visegrád Group countries. In addition to researching conflicts for the truth, Dr. Drążkiewicz also researches democratic participation and the world of non-governmental organizations. She is the author of the publication Institutionalised Dreams: The Art of Managing Foreign Aid (Berghahn, 2020). 

The European Research Council (ERC), set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. The ERC offers 4 main grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grant beneficiaries bridge the gap between their pioneering research and the early stages of its commercialization. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.