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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
portrait of Chiara Ciccarelli in her lab

Chiara Ciccarelli has been awarded a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to support her career as she pursues her most promising scientific ideas into ultra-energy-efficient data storage solutions.

Chiara Ciccarelli’s research focuses on magnets and ways to write and read their magnetic state as fast and as energy-efficiently as possible. This is because magnets remain the best way, that we know of, to store digital data for a long time.

Her €2.1M funded project, PICaSSO, will explore new ways to “write” the magnetic state of thin magnets at low temperature and ultra-fast speed by interfacing them with superconductors.

“Although we are still at an early stage, this would allow developing ultra-energy-efficient cryogenic data storage solutions,” said Ciccarelli, a Professor of Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. “This is a necessary requirement for the realistic scaling and flourishing of quantum computers.”   

“I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded a Consolidator Grant. It is an amazing opportunity to do great and new science and an important recognition of the work of my amazing team,” said Ciccarelli. 

She is one of the 308 researchers selected by ERC for this year’s Consolidator Grants. Worth in total €627 million, the grants are part of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research.

Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the brilliant researchers who have been selected for ERC Consolidator Grants. I'm especially thrilled to note the significant increase in the representation of women among the winners for the third consecutive year in this prestigious grant competition. This positive trend not only reflects the outstanding contributions of women researchers but also highlights the strides we are making towards a more inclusive and diverse scientific community.”

President of the European Research Council Prof. Maria Leptin said: “The new Consolidator Grant winners represent some of the best of European research. It is disappointing that we cannot support every deserving project simply due to budget constraints; around 100 proposals identified as excellent in our rigorous evaluation will be left unfunded. Can Europe afford to let such talent go unrealised? We need to collectively advocate for increased investment in research and innovation. Our shared goal must be to ensure that no brilliant idea goes unfunded in Europe, and no promising career is left unfulfilled.”


Chiara Ciccarelli in her lab. Credit: Chiara Ciccarelli.