The European Research Council (ERC) has selected 287 top early career scientists for funding in its sixth Starting Grant competition, enabling them to pursue cutting-edge fundamental research, the press service of the European Commission (EC) announced. The researchers will receive nearly €400 Million in total, with grants worth up to €2 million each over up to five years. Competition for these prestigious awards continued to increase, with overall demand for grants up by 50% this year. There was also an increase in the share of successful female researchers, from 24% to 30% of all candidates, the EC explained. This Starting Grant competition was the last under the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). The next calls will fall under the new EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, which foresees a major increase in funding for the ERC.