SLU researcher receives large ERC Starting Grant
Charles Melnyk, a plant biology researcher at SLU, has been awarded one of the most prestigious research grants in Europe, a starting grant from the European Research Council (ERC). During the next five years, Charles Melnyk will receive 1.5 million euro from the ERC to develop his project GRASP, aiming to understand the molecular basis for plant grafting.
The ERC (https://erc.europa.eu/) is Europe’s premiere funding organisation established in 2007 to promote the careers of the most promising researchers. This year, from a total of 3,170 applicants, 403 ERC starting grants were awarded across Europe, including 17 to researchers in Sweden. The generous funding provided by the ERC allows the grantees to build a research team, conduct excellent research and establish themselves as research leaders in Europe. This is the second time that a researcher at SLU has been awarded an ERC grant.
Charles Melnyk is an Associate Senior Lecturer and Wallenberg Academy Fellow in the Department of Plant Biology at the Uppsala BioCenter (SLU). Originally from Canada, he previously worked at the University of Cambridge before joining SLU in 2017. Throughout his career, Charles Melnyk has pioneered the field of plant grafting by establishing tools and answering key questions about how plant tissues behave during cutting and joining, a process known as grafting.
“I have received funding from the ERC to investigate the mechanistic basis for why some plants successfully graft whereas other do not”, says Charles Melnyk. “This is a phenomenal opportunity to greatly expand our understanding of how plants graft and use this information to more successfully graft plants and widen the range of species that can be grafted. Given the importance of plant grafting to increase yields and make plants more resistant to disease and stress, there is huge agricultural relevance for this technique, critical to meet the demands of the growing population and changing climate.”