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Two more Portuguese researchers are distinguished with ERC top honors Studentships

The European Research Council (ERC) announced this March the attribution of two more Studentships to research conducted in Portugal. The research projects of Cristiana Bastos, senior researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) at the University of Lisbon, and Luís Oliveira e Silva, full professor at the Physics Department and chairman of the scientific council of the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), were distinguished with the most prestigious Studentship of the ERC - the Advanced Grant.

The Advanced Grants are the Studentships with the highest monetary value awarded by the European Research Council, which were conceived by this institution to ensure that leading researchers of any age and nationality continue to develop innovative and challenging research projects within Europe.

Cristiana Bastos' project is entitled "The Color of Work: the Racialized Lives of Migrants" and focuses on racism, racializations, borders and migrations through the study of intercontinental flows of workers in the post-abolition of slavery and the dynamics of inclusion/tension/competition that were established locally, accompanied by conceptual formations sometimes presented as racial science. From the Portuguese point of view, it looks at the expansion in an entirely different way from the one that prevails until today, replacing the narrative of caravels and discoveries by that of labor, hardships, and social conquests. But the project's goal is broader and, as the evaluators, who unanimously pointed out its originality and ambition, opens frontiers in the current state of knowledge, articulating different scientific fields, methodologies, points of observation and theoretical goals. The Advanced Grant awarded to the project is worth 2.2 million euros.

Cristiana Bastos is an anthropologist. She coordinates the Identities, Cultures, Vulnerabilities research group at the Institute of Social Sciences. She graduated from the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (FCSH-UNL) and received her PhD from the City University of New York. Her interests lie at the intersection of anthropology, history, and social studies of science, materializing in lines of research on population dynamics, transnational mobility, colonial biopolitics, medicine and empire, and the social history of health and well-being.

Luis Oliveira e Silva

The Studentship awarded to Luís Oliveira e Silva recognizes the importance of his work exploring the mechanisms that allow the conversion of laser light into matter and antimatter, a direct illustration of Einstein's famous formula E=mc2. Using the world's largest supercomputers, the project, called InPairs, will also study the collective properties resulting from the interaction of photons, electrons and positrons in the presence of ultra intense fields. These extreme environments can be found in some of the most spectacular events in the Universe, such as neutron stars and pulsars. It is also intended to identify how to reproduce these extreme conditions in the laboratory, for example in the focus of ultra intense lasers, and to explore the use of these settings to produce high quality gamma-ray sources. The Advanced Grant awarded to Luís Oliveira e Silva is worth 1.950 million Euros. The researcher had already been awarded this Studentship from the ERC in 2010, worth 1.6 million euros, becoming the first researcher to develop work in Portugal in the field of physical sciences and engineering, to be awarded an Advanced Grant twice.

Luís Oliveira e Silva graduated in Technological Physics Engineering and has a PhD in Physics from IST, did his post-doctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (USA), and leads the theory and numerical simulation team of the Lasers and Plasmas Group at the Institute of Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion (IST), a FCT funded institution, where the InPairs project will be developed.