Two Bar-Ilan U. professors attain prestigious EU grants

The microbiology professor and the electronic engineering experts received 2 million euros in funding each.

Bar Ilan University, engineering department (photo credit: BAR ILAN UNIVERSITY/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Bar Ilan University, engineering department
Two professors from Bar-Ilan University's faculty received the Consolidator Grants from the European Union's European Research Council (EU's ERC).
The grants are designed to provide support to researchers - such as those from Bar-Ilan University - from any country when they are at the stage of consolidating their research team or program. The program was designed by the ERC, which attempts to encourage the highest quality research in Europe by using "competitive funding" and by supporting "investigator-driven frontier research," according to the ERC's website.
The recipients of the award are Prof. Omry Koren and Prof. Avi Zadok, who received the grants for their outstanding work as researchers with great promise in their scientific track records.
Koren's research mainly focuses on microbiology and microbial ecology, leading a microbiome research laboratory. He received the 2 million Euro grant for his research in microbiota, hormones and aggression in particular, referring to the most important social behaviors in nature for procreation and survival. The grant will go towards Koren and a team of researchers who will study the new concept that host aggression may be regulated in part by the microbiota, according to Bar-Ilan University.
Zadok's research focuses on electric engineering, in particular "silicon integrated lasers and nonlinear propagation in optical fibers," according to his personal webpage. He was also awarded 2 million Euros for research in silicon photonics, which, according to the university, seeks to implement integrated circuits for communication and processing of light alongside electronics. The grant will go towards Zadok and his team introducing ultrasonic, elastic waves in this technology.
"In each of their disciplines, Prof. Zadok and Prof. Koren are making an impact on the world of science and putting us on par with Europe's leading universities," said Bar-Ilan University President Prof. Arie Zaban.
In addition, a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev professor, Yigal Meir, has received the ERC Synergy Grant of $16 million last month. The grant will allow the professor and his team to develop new thermodynamic measurement methods, with a focus on entropy, for investigating new phases of matter that emerge in quantum electronic devices. 
The ERC received 2,506 proposals for the Consolidator Grant in 2020, 13% of which were chosen to be funded, including the two Bar-Ilan researchers.
Israel's Hebrew University in Jerusalem has received grants from the ERC in the past, including a 7 million euro grant which was awarded to three professors in April 2020 to pursue "ground-breaking and high-risk projects."