The ERC’s (European Research Council) mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence.

ERC funds three types of individual grants :

  • ERC Starting grant:

ERC Starting Grants are intended for young researchers with between 2 and 7 years of experience since obtaining their PhD. The objective of the Starting Grant grants is to allow young scientists to build their research team around an original theme. The research must be carried out in a public or private research institute located in an EU Member State or an associated country. The duration of the grant is 5 years and the selection criteria are the scientific excellence of the project and of the researcher carrying it. The latter must demonstrate his scientific independence and his ability to assume the management of his project.

  • ERC Consolidator grant:

Consolidator Grants are intended for researchers with 7 to 12 years of experience since obtaining their PhD. The research must be conducted in a public or private research institute located in an EU Member State or an associated country. The duration of the grant is 5 years and the selection criteria are the scientific excellence of the project and of the researcher carrying it. The latter must demonstrate his scientific independence and his ability to assume the management of his project.

  • ERC Advanced grant:

The Advanced Grants must allow established scientists to propose a ground-breaking subject from their research activities, while remaining active at the scientific level. They are open to all confirmed researchers, recognized as exceptional leaders and who are conducting an exploratory research project. Applicants must demonstrate an excellent track record (titles and work) over the last ten years of research. The duration of the grant is 5 years and the selection criteria are the scientific excellence of the project and of the researcher carrying it. The latter must demonstrate his scientific independence and his ability to assume the management of his project.

The CENNS project proposes a new path towards the discovery of new physics. That of the precision measurement of a process that for a long time remained theoretical, and observed only recently: The coherent scattering of neutrinos on nuclei.

The measurement of the latter at high precision and at the lowest energies will indeed allow to explore exotic scenarios of new physics, such as the existence of sterile neutrinos, non-standard interactions, or new mediators, related to the dark matter problem.

To achieve this, the ERC CENNS (PI J. Billard) is financing the realization of a cryogenic detector with a mass of one kg, called the CRYOCUBE, which will then be installed in the cryostat of the RICOCHET experiment, at the ILL experimental reactor. The detectors are crystals in semiconductor Germanium of about thirty grams, equipped with electrodes and temperature sensor. These two detection techniques will be pushed well beyond their current performance to reach energy thresholds below 100 eV while having a resolution of the order of 10eV, and the ability to identify and reject background events.

Such performance will enable a measurement of coherent neutrino scattering at the ILL of a few percent in less than 2 years of data collection.

CryoCube design below the 10mK plate of the Ricochet Cryostat.

Type Ia Supernovae are used to measure the properties of the constituents of the Universe, especially those of dark energy. These supernovae allow us to measure distances of several billion light-years thanks to their unique properties: they are extremely bright and all almost identical. However, despite 30 years of research we still do not know the exact physics that explains the “Supernovae type Ia” event. This lack of knowledge of all the effects that could be hidden in the “quasi”, limits today our progress in measuring the properties of the Universe. Our team, funded by the European ERC program (USNAC project; PI Rigault), is tackling this problem by comparing the properties of Supernovae according to their galactic environment. We are using data from the new Zwicky Transient Facility survey and also from the 10 years of observation of SNfactory. Soon we will have access to the Large Survey of Space and Time (LSST).

Ongoing

  • H2020-ERC-2018-STG // CENNS (Probing new physics with Coherent Elastic Neutrino-Nucleus Scattering and a tabletop experiment) – Julien BILLARD
  • H2020-ERC-2017-STG // USNAC (Understanding Type Ia SuperNovae for Accurate Cosmology ) – Mickaël RIGAULT