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School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

EECS academic wins major funding for European ‘rising stars’

A Queen Mary academic has risen to the top of thousands of proposals to win a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant worth €2m as part of the EU’s new R&I programme Horizon Europe.

Altered Piano with digital elements

ERC Consolidator Grants fund talented mid-career scientists to consolidate their teams and conduct pioneering research over 5 years on topics and with methods of their choosing.

One of these ‘rising star’ researchers is Andrew McPherson, Professor of Musical Interaction in Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, who won funding for his exciting research project ‘Reflective Understanding of Digital Instruments as Musical Entanglements’ (RUDIMENTS).

An electrical engineer and composer by training, Prof McPherson is interested in creating new expressive tools for musicians – including electronically-augmented acoustic instruments, novel hardware/software interfaces for live performance, and intuitive mapping strategies between gesture and sound.

Prof McPherson explained: "I am incredibly excited to start the RUDIMENTS project, using digital musical instrument design to investigate the cultural implications of engineering decisions. Thank you to ERC for their generous support of this project, which will expand my disciplinary horizons. I look forward to working with colleagues at QMUL and around the world as we seek to build a more inclusive and inquisitive future for music technology.”

Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) at Queen Mary, Professor Andrew Livingston, said: “Horizon Europe grants are incredibly competitive and I’m delighted that the panel has recognised Andrew’s expertise and the excellence of research at Queen Mary through this award.

“The RUDIMENTS project falls under our Performance, Communication and the Creative Industries Research Highway, where we have interdisciplinary depth and strength across our university. Warmest congratulations to Andrew on this achievement, I am looking forward to hearing about the findings of this fascinating research project.”

This funding was awarded to just 12 per cent of the 2,652 applicants from across the European Union Member States and associated countries; Queen Mary is one of only 24 UK institutions to host an ERC (2021) Consolidator winner. The UK was the second most successful host country with 41 awards, after Germany (61) and France in third with 29 awards.

Professor Maria Leptin, President of the ERC, commented: “Even in times of crisis and conflict and suffering, it is our duty to keep science on track and give our brightest minds free reign to explore their ideas. We do not know today how their work might revolutionise tomorrow – we do know they will open up new horizons, satisfy our curiosity, and most likely help us prepare for unpredictable future challenges. I am thrilled to see a new group of ERC grant winners funded for their scientific journey. I wish them the best of luck on their way to push the frontiers of our knowledge!”



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