European funding for new thin magnet research

Chiara Ciccarelli has been awarded a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to support her career as she researches ultra-energy-efficient data storage solutions.

Magnets remain the best way that we know of to store digital data for long periods of time and so Ciccarelli’s research focuses on ways to write and read their magnetic state as fast and energy-efficiently as possible

Her project, PICaSSO, has been awarded €2.1 million to explore new ways to write the magnetic state of thin magnets at low temperatures and ultra-fast speeds by interfacing them with superconductors.

Chiara Ciccarelli portrait

Chiara Ciccarelli portrait

“Although we are still at an early stage, this would allow developing ultra-energy-efficient cryogenic data storage solutions,” said Ciccarelli, a Professor of Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. “This is a necessary requirement for the realistic scaling and flourishing of quantum computers.”   

“I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded a Consolidator Grant. It is an amazing opportunity to do great and new science and an important recognition of the work of my amazing team” said Ciccarelli. 

She is one of the 308 researchers selected by ERC for this year’s Consolidator Grants. Worth in total €627 million, the grants are part of the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme. The ERC, set up by the EU in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research.

Announcing the awards, Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, noted the encouraging increase in the number of female winners for the third year in a row, demonstrating progress towards a more inclusive and diverse scientific community.