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Dr Williams's research focuses on the evolution of the Earth's mantle.

Dr Helen Williams awarded European Research Council funding

College Fellow, Dr Helen Williams, has won an advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC), Europe’s premier research funding body.

Dr Williams, from the Department of Earth Sciences, has been awarded funding for the EarthMelt project. Her research centres on the application of non-traditional stable isotope systems to understanding the formation and evolution of planetary interiors. It involves using stable iron isotope analyses and high-pressure experiments to understand the evolution of the Earth’s earliest mantle.

"The ERC has given me the amazing opportunity to study the early evolution of the Earth and its transition from a largely molten state to the habitable planet we know today."

Dr Helen Williams

Dr Williams said: “By funding the EarthMelt project, the ERC has given me the amazing opportunity to study the early evolution of the Earth and its transition from a largely molten state to the habitable planet we know today. This funding will also help me to develop exciting new instrumentation and analytical techniques, and, most importantly, mentor and support the next generation of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers working in geochemistry.”

209 senior scientists from across Europe were awarded grants in today’s announcement, representing a total of €507 million in research funding. The UK has 51 grantees in this year’s funding round, the most of any ERC participating country. Cambridge has the most grant winners of any UK institution, and the second-most winners overall, with 12 researchers awarded funding. Their work is set to provide new insights into many subjects, such as how to deal with vast scales of data in a statistically robust way, the development of energy-efficient materials for a zero-carbon world, and the development of new treatments for degenerative disease and cancer.

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. Apart from strengthening Europe’s knowledge base, the new research projects will also lead to the creation of some 1,900 new jobs for post-doctoral fellows, PhD students and other research staff.

This is an edited version of an article originally published by the University of Cambridge. It is reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  

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