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Two LU researchers receive ERC Starting Grants

Lea Fünfschilling and Carmelo D’Agostino (Photo: Robert Olsson and private)
Lea Fünfschilling and Carmelo D’Agostino (Photo: Robert Olsson and private image)

LU researchers Lea Fünfschilling and Carmelo D’Agostino have been awarded an ERC Starting Grant each, for their research on innovation and knowledge dynamics and automated vehicles respectively.

The ERC Starting Grant is aimed at researchers in the early stages of their career, and scientific excellence is the only selection criterion. This year, more than 4,000 researchers in Europe applied for the grant, and a total of 397 researchers will share EUR 619 million. In Sweden, 14 researchers were selected.

Carmelo D’Agostino

Carmelo D’Agostino will receive up to EUR 1.5 million over the next five years for the research project SUperSAFE SUrrogate measures for SAFE autonomous and connected mobility.

Can you tell us a little about your project?

- The SUperSAFE project aims to fully understand how the interaction between connected and automated vehicles and conventional road users works, to explain it and relate this to the digital and physical road infrastructure.

What do you hope to achieve?

- I hope to develop a new proactive method that can evaluate how road infrastructure affects safety, in terms of interaction between road users, and preventively assess how it should be designed. This will save lives by including connected and automated vehicles and road infrastructure in the paradigm shift towards a safer system.

What does the grant mean to you?

- This grant is a milestone in my career. I see it as a starting point rather than an end goal, in terms of my commitment to science. I feel really honored, and at the same time filled with responsibility.

Lea Fünfschilling

Lea Fünfschilling, researcher in Innovation Studies, will receive the grant for the project ENDINGS - Towards a theory of endings in innovation studies

Can you tell us a little about your project?

- After decades of innovation research, we know quite a lot about how new knowledge is developed and how it can be translated into new products and into entire societal systems. With my research, I want to shift attention towards existing institutionalized structures and what is today seen as established knowledge to be able to break this up. I also want draw attention to the surrounding systems where technology and people meet.

What do you hope to achieve?

- Given the sustainability challenges in many industries and in society as a whole, it is both important to develop new and more sustainable products and services, as well as gain a better understanding of how existing, less sustainable systems can be ended - perhaps even without replacing them with something new.

The project will investigate how knowledge in different industries is maintained, if and how it is eroded over time and whether it ever dies out or not. Our research group will study these processes in three industries - energy, information and communication technology (ICT) and crafts - in Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom.

What does the grant mean to you?

- Receiving the grant is a real honor and an excellent opportunity for me to continue to build my own research group. I will be hiring three doctoral students within the project and I am really looking forward to developing this line of research with them over the next five years.