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Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge


Professor Roberto Maiolino has been awarded the prestigious Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This is the second consecutive ERC Advanced Grant that Professor Maiolino has received. The new grant, worth more than two million pounds, will be used to pursue his research project ‘RISEandFALL'. This project is divided in two parts. The first one (the ‘Rise’) is aimed at investigating the nature and properties of galaxies during their infancy, as well as their black hole seeds, in the early Universe. Particular emphasis will be given to the formation of the first stars, first black holes and the early chemical enrichment. The second part (the ‘Fall’) will explore the physical processes driving the subsequent galaxy evolution and transformation across the cosmic epochs, with focus on understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the suppression of star formation.


These goals will be achieved primarily by using data coming from cutting edge astronomical facilities. Specifically, Professor Maiolino will use new data coming from the revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope, which was successfully launched one year ago, and is now delivering data with unprecedented sensitivity, piercing into the earliest cosmic epochs.  The project will also use data from MOONS, the next generation multi-object near-infrared spectrograph for the Very Large Telescope, which will deliver precious information for hundreds of thousands distant galaxies. The information coming from these facilities will also be combined with data coming from the Atacama Large Millimetre Telescope (ALMA), the largest telescope operating in the (sub-)millimetre band.


As UK institutes are unable to sign ERC grant agreements prior to formal association of the UK to the programme, this project will be funded, for the same amount, by UKRI under its Horizon Europe Guarantee scheme. The project will be developed between 2023 and 2028, and the funds will be primarily used to  support postdoctoral researchers and students working on the project at the Department of Physics and at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology of the University of Cambridge.