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Melinda Mills & Sergei Scherbov Win ERC Proof of Concept Grants

Melinda Mills of the University of Oxford has received a European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept Grant for her project "DNA4Science: Citizen-science data collection for ethical data re-use", a citizen science enterprise aimed at ethically distributing donated genetic & digital data for scientific use. Currently, the largest genetic datasets are held by commercial genetics companies, with increasingly limited access for scientists. Individuals, however, can freely download and donate their own data held by these companies. Through eliminating commercial mediators, DNA4Science has the potential to provide researchers access to genetic data that will help them understand diseases, lower costs, bring medical interventions more quickly to market, and democratise data ownership. Mills is the Nuffield Professor of Sociology at Oxford and director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at Oxford. Her research focuses on combining a social science and genetic approach to the study of behavioural outcomes. The ERC press release about selected projects, including Mills', is available here.

Sergei Scherbov of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) also received an ERC Proof of Concept Grant for his project "Fair Pensions and Population Ageing". Scherbov is the Deputy Program Director of the World Population Program (POP) at IIASA, Director of Demographic Analysis at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), and Leader of the Population Dynamics and Forecasting Research Group at the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID), Austrian Academy of Sciences. His work focuses on population projections, new measures of aging, and analysis of aging that takes into consideration changing characteristics of people.

A full list of the 55 first-round winning projects is available here. Congratulations to all of the winners!