I’m delighted to say I’ve been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator award for my project ‘The Programmable City’, receiving €2.3m over 5 years. The awards are tagged ‘Europe’s most prestigious grants’ and they’re highly competitive - only 3 or 4 awards per year have been made to date with respect to the SH3 panel (Environment and Society, to which I applied) across the 39 eligible countries. Since 2008 only 6 such awards have been made across all disciplines/panels to researchers in Ireland. In other words, I’m really fortunate to be receiving one of the awards. It will buy me out on a 0.5 basis from my present duties as well as funding two 5 year postdocs, two 4 year postdocs, four 4 year PhD students, one replacement lecturer, and 0.5 admin. The research institute I run has now secured two such grants: a starting award to Sean O’Riain and an advanced award for myself, which is a great achievement. The two grants are complementary to an extent so hopefully we can build a really strong team of researchers in the coming years. I’m now hoping to step to the side from my head of department duties from next August (which I’ll have done for 11 years) to concentrate on delivering the new project as well as continuing my work on existing funded projects. Really looking forward to it.