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ERC grants

Three further awards for LMU faculty

München, 04/04/2018

In the latest call for proposals, the European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Advanced Grants to researchers at LMU.

Professor Peter Adamson (Faculty of Philosophy), Professor Dieter Braun (Faculty of Physics) and Professor Christoph Knill (Faculty of Social Sciences) are among those whose projects were selected for funding in the latest call for proposals issued by the ERC. Each of them has won an ERC Advanced Grant. For professors Braun and Knill, it is the second ERC award in their respective careers.

ERC Advanced Grants are worth up to 2.5 million euros (in exceptional cases as much as 3.5 million) and are intended to enable established investigators in all areas of research to pursue highly innovative ideas that promise to significantly extend the current limits of their particular fields.

The winners and their projects:

adamsonmusaph_130_webPeter Adamson is Professor of Late Antique and Arabic Philosophy at LMU, and together with Christof Rapp and Oliver Primavesi heads the Munich School of Ancient Philosophy. He has published widely on Greek philosophy and its reception in the Islamic world.

In his ERC project, Adamson will examine the status of animals in Islamic philosophy based on an investigation of three types of texts – philosophical, medical and theological. His goal is to trace how Islamic thinking about animals is reflected in these texts, and how these views have affected human attitudes and everyday behavior towards animals.

Peter Adamson has been at LMU since 2012, having previously served as Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King’s College in London. He has published and edited numerous books and is the initiator of the podcast History of Philosophy (www.historyofphilosophy.net)

For more information on Peter Adamson’s research


braun_130_webDieter Braun is Professor of Biophysics at LMU. His research focuses on elucidating the molecular origins of life on the early Earth, and he currently leads an international Research Group at LMU’s Center for Advanced Studies, which is dedicated to Recreating the Origin of Life.

His new ERC project is also concerned with the prebiotic physicochemical processes that gave rise to the emergence of the first life forms on the primordial Earth. More specifically, it deals with mechanisms of origin and replication of the first sequence information in geothermal microfluidic systems on the early earth. The essential goal of the project is to experimentally recapitulate the beginnings of molecular evolution in the laboratory by reproducing by lab experiments the early evolution of biomolecules in the geothermal environments in which they are thought to have formed.

Dieter Braun was appointed Professor of Biophysics at LMU in 2007. Prior to that, he had led an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group at the LMU Center for NanoScience. Braun has already received several prizes for his work. In 2010, he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant worth 1.5 million euros. In the following year he won the Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank Prize. The idea for the biotechnology start-up NanoTemper was conceived and developed on the basis of his work. The firm now employs a workforce of 120. Since 2014, Braun’s work has also been supported by the Simons Foundation as part of its collaborative program on the origins of life.

For more information on Dieter Braun’s work, see:
It’s a matter of gradients (05.12.2017)
Molecular origins of life (04.12.2016)
On the beginnings of biology (06.26.2015)
Reassembling life’s starter kit (07.14.2015)


krill_130_webChristoph Knill holds the Chair of Empirical Theories of Politics in the Scholl Institute of Political Sciences at LMU, and his research focuses on moral issues in politics and the bureaucratic structures of international organizations.

In his ERC project, entitled “Unlimited Growth? A Comparative Analyses of Causes and Consequences of Policy Accumulation (ACCUPOL)”, he will examine the extent and effects of the increasing involvement of politicians and administrators in social and environmental issues, based on an empirical study of the recent growth of regulation of these areas and deficits in the implementation of such policies in the member states of the OECD.

Christoph Knill has held professorships in Jena and Konstanz and took up his present position at LMU in 2014. Before that he had held research positions at the Max Planck Institute for Social Research in Cologne, at the European University Institute in Florence and as a member of the Max Planck Project Group on “Public Goods and the Law” in Bonn. He received his first Advanced Grant for the project Comparative Analysis of Moral Policy Change (MORAPOL).

For more information on Christoph Knill’s work