Representation in United Kingdom

UCL study on wage inequality gets €1.5m of EU funding


Uta Schoenberg
Uta Schoenberg

Uta Schoenberg from University College London will receive €1,491,803 (£1,329,913) of EU funding to study wage inequality within and across firms. The funding comes from the latest round of ERC (European Research Council) consolidator grants.


Ms Schoenberg will try to answer why wages have become less dependent on worker skills and more dependent on where the worker works. She will then study how government policies, such as the minimum wage or business taxation, but also general market trends, influence firm entry and exit, firm hiring and firing, and firm wage growth. Professor Schoenberg will also investigate the role of firms in encouraging women to return to work after childbirth and in reducing labour market inequalities between men and women by considering whether the family-friendly policies provided by firms are more effective than government policies. The research addresses key unanswered questions in different sub-fields of economics and is expected to contribute to important policy debates.

Overall, 55 UK-based researchers will receive around €107m (£95m) in this round of EU funding with the UK once again the leading location for ERC grants, followed by Germany (38 recipients), France (32) and Switzerland (29). In total, 291 top researchers in Europe will receive consolidator grants worth €573 million (£511m) to help them build up their teams.

Commenting on the announcement, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "This EU grant provides a real boost to research and innovation in Europe because it gives top scientists the chance to take risks and pursue their best and maybe wildest ideas. I am pleased to see these ERC grants will support such a diverse group of people of forty nationalities working in over twenty countries and that the list of grantees also reflects that we have many excellent women scientists in Europe."

The ERC consolidator grants are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with at least seven and up to twelve years of experience after PhD, and a scientific track record showing great promise. Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation located in one of the EU member states or associated countries. The funding (maximum of €2 million per grant) is provided for up to five years and mostly covers the employment of researchers and other staff to consolidate the grantees' teams.

335 UK-based projects have benefitted from the consolidator grant (around €630 million) since the start of this type of funding in 2013. 1,946 UK-based projects have received a total of around €3.3 billion across all types of grants since the launch of the ERC itself.

The next deadline for consolidator grant applications is 7 February 2019.


The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation promoting excellent frontier research.

The UK's research excellence and strong research base has made it an attractive destination for ERC-funded researchers from elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

The ERC offers four core grant schemes: starting, consolidator, advanced and synergy grants.

The grants fall under the 'Excellent Science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.