Fabian Schmidt receives ERC Starting Grant

December 15, 2015

In its 2015 round, the European Research Council (ERC) selected Fabian Schmidt from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics as one of the recipients for its highly competitive starting grant. This will allow Fabian Schmidt to establish his own research group to investigate the very early Universe and probe the general theory of relativity.

The large-scale distribution of galaxies as observed by sky surveys such as SDSS allows for unique insights into gravity and the physics of inflation.

Some of the major questions of cosmology are why the Universe accelerates and how the  structure in the  Universe originates. Recent breakthrough research, with leading contributions from Fabian Schmidt, has shown that we can make progress in these questions using observation of the large-scale structure and its tracers, the galaxies. This opens up a fascinating, new, interdisciplinary research field: probing gravity and inflation with galaxies.


The goal of the research by Fabian Schmidt funded by the ERC grant is to probe our theory of gravity, general relativity, on cosmological scales. In addition, it aims to shed light on the origin of the initial seed fluctuations out of which all structure in the Universe formed, by constraining the physics and energy scale of inflation.


The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. The ERC Starting Grant is one of the most competitive EU grants (the success rate in 2015 is about 10%). It is awarded to researchers within 7 years after their PhD to fund excellent and ground-breaking ideas. The awardees receive funding of up to 1.5 million Euros per grant to establish their own research group and realize their project over the course of up to five years.

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