ERC Consolidator Grants: Four Million Euros for UZH Researchers

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Should a country’s people be able to vote on reintroducing the death penalty? Prof. Moeckli, awardee of the ERC Consolidator Grant, will provide the scientific basis for addressing such questions. (Image: iStock/bizoo_n)

The European Research Council (ERC) uses its Consolidator Grants to promote outstanding researchers with between seven and 12 years of experience after their PhD conferral and a scientific track record showing great promise. The researchers’ projects receive funding of a maximum of 2 million euros for a period of up to five years. These grants are thus highly competitive and sought after.

Constitutional limits of direct democracy
In his research project, Daniel Moeckli, assistant professor of international law and constitutional law at UZH, focuses on the relationship between popular sovereignty and the principles of the rule of law. Should a country’s people be able to vote on reintroducing the death penalty? Can a proposal be put to a vote if its consequences cannot be foreseen? Should it be admissible to launch a popular initiative on curbing immigration if it violates international law?

Prof. Moeckli’s work will provide the scientific basis for addressing one of the greatest political challenges of today: Where do we set the constitutional limits of direct democracy? Who should ensure that these limits are adhered to?

New strategy for treating tuberculosis
With his research project, Markus Seeger, professor at the Institute of Medical Microbiology at UZH, aims to find new approaches to disarming tuberculosis pathogens (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) so that they no longer pose a threat for humans. Building on work his laboratory has previously performed, the team will investigate the little known transportation mechanisms with which pathogens absorb iron-binding molecules through the cell membrane.

Iron is a central element for the survival of this dreaded pathogen. By investigating iron transportation on a molecular level, the researchers hope to find new approaches for treating tuberculosis pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. Each year, this dangerous infectious disease is responsible for the death of approximately two million people worldwide.

ERC Consolidator Grants 2017

Prof. Daniel Moeckli for the research project “Popular Sovereignty vs. the Rule of Law? Defining the Limits of Direct Democracy” (LIDD)
Amount awarded: EUR 1,963,935
Institute of Public International Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Zurich

Prof. Markus A. Seeger for the research project “Discovery and molecular investigation of mycobacterial transporters responsible for iron acquisition” (MycoRailway)
Amount awarded: EUR 1,999,865
Institute of Medical Microbiology, University of Zurich