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Image of Professor Cecilia Mascolo

College Fellow wins European Research Council funding

College Fellow Professor Cecilia Mascolo is one of five University of Cambridge researchers to have won Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), Europe’s premier research funding body. 

Grants to 222 senior scientists from across Europe have been announced, representing a total of €540 million in research funding. The UK has 47 grantees in this year’s funding round, the most of any ERC participating country.

Professor Mascolo from the Department of Computer Science and Technology will lead a project focused on the use of mobile devices for medical diagnostics. She and her team will study how the microphone in mobile and wearable devices may be used to diagnose and monitor various health conditions since sounds from the human body can be indicators of disease or the onsets of disease.

While audio sensing in a mobile context is inexpensive to deploy and can reach people who may not have access to or be able to afford other diagnostic tests, it does come with challenges which threaten its use in clinical context: namely its power-hungry nature and the sensitivity of the data it collects. Mascolo’s ERC funding will support the development of a systematic framework to link sounds to disease diagnosis while addressing power consumption and privacy concerns by maximising the use of local hardware resources with power optimisation and accuracy.

ERC grants are awarded through open competition to projects headed by starting and established researchers, irrespective of their origins, who are working or moving to work in Europe. The sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence.

ERC Advanced Grants are designed to support excellent scientists in any field with a recognised track record of research achievements in the last ten years.

The President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: “Since 2007, the European Research Council has attracted and financed some of the most audacious research proposals, and independent evaluations show that this approach has paid off. With this call, another 222 researchers from all over Europe and beyond will pursue their best ideas and are in an excellent position to trigger breakthroughs and major scientific advances.”

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “The ERC Advanced Grants back outstanding researchers throughout Europe. Their pioneering work has the potential to make a difference in people’s everyday life and deliver solutions to some of our most urgent challenges. The ERC gives these bright minds the possibility to follow their most creative ideas and to play a decisive role in the advancement of all domains of knowledge.”

A version of this article first appeared on the University of Cambridge website and has been reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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