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Published: 03.04.2023

Michal Holčapek, a chemist from the University of Pardubice, and three other scientists from the Czech Republic received a highly prestigious grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The scientist, who works for the Faculty of Chemical Technology, has long been involved in analysing lipids and their use in cancer diagnostics.

ERC Advanced Grant is intended for excellent European and world scientists. In the last 16 years, only eight experts from Czech institutions have received it. The grant award is considered a measure of the importance of knowledge in the European context and a prestigious researcher award.

“None of the Czech scientists have received this type of European support in the last six years. It is important for the University of Pardubice that Prof. Holčapek’s research is among Europe’s best. The ERC Advanced Grants are among the most prestigious while demonstrating the quality of research in important countries and the position of important scientific institutions in the international network. I’m proud that one of the University of Pardubice’s outstanding teams has joined this elite society,” said the Rector of the University of Pardubice, Prof. Libor Čapek.

ERC Advanced Grants aim to support internationally recognised experts who have already established themselves in the field and significantly impacted it. They are only awarded to outstanding persons who have had a significant impact on the field and have achieved international recognition in the last ten years. “I believe that Professor Holčapek is a person who deserves to be awarded this project. With his team, he has been the first to develop a method for early diagnosis of certain types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, from blood analysis. Professor Holčapek’s research results have been published in respected journals such as Nature Communications. In addition, a team of young researchers demonstrates that it is possible to do science from the top level even outside the best-known centres,” said Prof. Petr Němec, the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Technology.

Prof. Holčapek’s team has succeeded with a project called ONCOLIPID, which will be implemented in the next five years. It has received a total amount of nearly EUR 3.5 million. “Winning this grant is the biggest achievement of my scientific career,” says Prof. Michal Holčapek from the Faculty of Chemical Technology. “So far, my group has been working on lipid analysis for early diagnosis of malignant cancer. With the ERC grant, we want to elucidate the mechanism of why changes occur in the first place. This could also have a major impact on improving treatment, not just the diagnosis,” said Michal Holčapek.

Together with Prof. Holčapek, Prof. Pavel Jungwirth from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS, Prof. Tomáš Jungwirth from the Institute of Physics of the CAS, and Dr Josef Šivic from the Czech Technical University in Prague received the prestigious grant this year.

The European Research Council (ERC) was set up in 2007 to fund cutting-edge research in all scientific disciplines, the so-called frontier research that goes beyond the frontiers of knowledge in a given field. The ERC aims to support the emergence and growth of a generation of research leaders in Europe who play a crucial role in the future of science. The only evaluation criterion is the scientific quality of the project and the researcher.

In Pardubice on this 30 March 2023