Crag News

CRAG researcher Ana I. Caño-Delgado awarded a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council

Ana I. Caño-Delgado, head of the Brassinosteroid signaling in plant development research group and CSIC Assistant Professor at CRAG, has just been awarded a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), for her project Improving Drought Resistance in Crops and Arabidopsis.

Drought is the first cause of agricultural losses globally, and represents a major threat to food security. Currently, plant biotechnology stands as the most promising strategy to produce crops capable of producing high yields in fed rain conditions. From the study of whole-plants, the main underlying mechanism for responses to drought stress has been uncovered, and multiple drought resistance genes have been engineered into crops. So far, plants with enhanced drought resistance displayed reduced crop yield, which imposes the search of novel approaches to uncouple drought resistance from plant growth. In this project, we will use Brassinosteroid signaling in the root to investigate the mechanism for drought stress resistance in plants and to design novel molecules able to confer resistance to the drought stress. The research aims to provide sustainable solutions to enhance crop production in limiting water environments.

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced today the 302 winners of its 2015 Consolidator Grant competition. These excellent mid-career scientists are awarded a total of €585 million, as part of the European Union Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. With grants worth up to €2 million each, they will be able to consolidate their research teams and to develop their innovative ideas.

Ana I. Caño-Delgado is one of the 18 researchers awarded in Spain with this grant, and her proposal is one of the 94 selected throughout Europe, among the 627 proposals submitted in the area of Life Sciences.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: 'As part of Horizon 2020, the ERC funds the work of some of the most brilliant minds in frontier research, people whose discoveries can start new industries, new markets and contribute to the welfare of the planet'.

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: 'The Consolidator grants support researchers at a crucial time of their careers, strengthening their independence and helping them establish themselves as leaders in their scientific fields. Europe needs to unequivocally put its trust in young and very engaged scientists. I'm glad to see that, compared to previous years, there are more women amongst the Consolidator grantees selected in a competition strictly based on scientific quality. I hope that this trend continues. This time the success rate of female applicants actually surpassed that of men'.