University of Iceland Professor of Epidemiology, Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir has been awarded a 2 million Euro (USD 2.1 million) Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). She will be the fourth ever ERC grantee based in Iceland and will conduct pioneering research on significant life stress and health, according to the Delegation of the European Union to Iceland.
Established by the European Commission in 2007, the ERC funds scientific and technological research conducted within the European Union. RÚV reports that Consolidator Grants are the largest research grants awarded by the ERC.
The grant awarded to Unnur will fund research on whether inherited traits can possibly explain people’s various reactions to unexpected crises. The ERC Consolidator Grants were awarded to 314 top researchers in Europe. They fall under the ‘Excellent Science’ pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation program.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, stated, “The new grant winners have been awarded this competitive funding because they are top-notch scientists with truly ground-breaking ideas - investment in their success will pay back.”
Research co-authored by Unnur, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2012, received a great deal of attention. It found that women and men, recently diagnosed with cancer had an increased chance of suicide and sudden death, due to cardiovascular diseases, likely caused by the stress brought about by the diagnosis.