Professor Neil Brockdorff awarded an ERC Advanced Grant to investigate in cis translocated (ict) RNAs

Professor Neil Brockdorff is one of four Oxford researchers awarded €2.5 million European Research Council Advanced Grants


Prof Neil Brockdorff

Professor Neil Brockdorff

Professor Neil Brockdorff is one of four University of Oxford researchers who have been awarded European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants of €2.5 million each over five years to explore their most innovative and ambitious ideas. These grants recognise ground-breaking projects led by researchers with a track record of significant research achievements.

The ERC is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research, and the ERC Advanced Grants are amongst the most prestigious and competitive EU funding schemes. They provide researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. This latest call for proposals attracted nearly 1,650 applications, which had an overall success rate of 13.2%. Female researchers accounted for 23% of all applications, their highest participation rate in Advanced Grant calls up to now.

Maria Leptin, ERC President, said: ‘These new ERC Advanced Grantees are a testament to the outstanding quality of research carried out across Europe. I am especially pleased to see such a high number of female researchers in this competition and that they are increasingly successful in securing funding. We look forward to seeing the results of the new projects in the years to come, with many likely to lead to breakthroughs and new advances.’


Investigating fundamental principles of gene regulation

Professor Neil Brockdorff has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant to investigate in cis translocated (ict) RNAs, a family of non-coding RNA molecules that have important roles in gene regulation in mammalian development. His studies will couple state of the art genomics methods with innovative live cell and super-resolution microscopy. Starting with the ictRNA Xist, which he has studied over many years, Professor Brockdorff aims to compare and contrast different ictRNA family members with a view to understanding the fundamental principles and molecular mechanisms underpinning their unique function in long-range gene regulation. Professor Neil Brockdorff said ‘The award of an ERC Advanced Grant represents an exciting opportunity to both advance our long-standing investigation of the mechanism of action of the ictRNA Xist, and to uncover the general principles underpinning the evolution of this unusual family of molecules, all of which have key roles in chromosome regulation during animal development. We are especially excited to exploit and further develop Micron Oxford, the world leading advanced microscopy network established in the Department of Biochemistry and across the Oxford Biosciences community.’

More information about the ERC Advanced Grants can be found on the ERC website.

The full article detailing all four grant awards can be read here