Three New ERC Advanced Grants for Sapienza

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The European Research Council has approved three new Sapienza projects presented by Principal Investigators in the ERC Advanced Grant category for a total of funding of €5,757,212, making Sapienza University the top Italian recipient in this category.

“The funding approved for Sapienza Projects,” underlines Rector Eugenio Gaudio, “represents an important recognition, at the European level, of the ability of our scholars to accept the challenges of the future and rewards our university for its research investments in all subject areas.”

The recognition of research work at Sapienza University by the European Research Council with the assignment of these three Advanced Grants continues after the approval, in 2017, of six ERC Projects: (3 Starting Grants, 2 Proof of Concept Grants and 1 Consolidator Grant) for a total of €11,718,023. Moreover, Sapienza also has two more direct ERC Principal Investigators recipients: Rinaldo Trotta, Department of Physics, Project “Starting SPQRel” and Emanuele Spadaro, Department of Mathematics, Project “Starting HiCos.”

The three Advanced Grants have been assigned to the following projects:

Project eHONESTY – “Embodied Honesty in Real World and Digital Interactions” 

Presented by Salvatore Maria Aglioti, Sapienza Department of Psychology

Based on the fact that our bodily representations influence our most complex behaviour, such as morals, the project aims to investigate whether an increased awareness of our bodies and the understanding that we are the agents of our own actions can modify (dis)honest behaviour both in the real world and in virtual interactions on social networks. The project will investigate the behavioural (via responses to questionnaires), physiological (cardiac response, changes in skin temperature) and neurological responses (via electro-encephalography) of subjects that complete tasks that expose them to the temptation to lie to earn more money, both in real contexts and in virtual interactions. This approach to the study of personal dishonesty integrates large-scale cross-cultural methodologies and could inspire new strategies to contrast non-ethical and illegal behaviour.  

Project NOTAE - “Not a Written Word, but Graphic Symbols” 

Presented by Antonella Ghignoli, Sapienza Department of History, Cultures and Religions

The project aims to study the historical use of graphic symbols in the pragmatic written culture of late antiquity and the high middle ages. These are both simple and complex, peculiar signs that were developed with the same technology of writing in written texts, but with different meanings than words. The project will take a census of the documentary tradition of late antiquity and post-Roman western kingdoms. These concrete traces of men and women from our past, which reflect balance between written and oral culture, between learned scholars and simple manual abilities, will be studied individually and compared for the first time. The project work tool will be the homonymous NOTAE relational database, which will also constitute one of the main project results: an image archive of all the identified graphic symbols and a digital historical atlas of this extraordinary graphic heritage.

Project AMDROMA -“AMDROMA - Algorithmic and Mechanism Design Research in On-line Markets” 

Presented by Stefano Leonardi, “Antonio Ruberti” Department of Information, Control and Management Engineering

The project is based on the study of algorithms and decisional mechanisms for on-line markets. Digital markets have become a fundamental part of our economy. Internet hosts both traditional markets (real estate, stock, etc.) and entirely new markets (viral marketing, sharing economy, digital work). Decisions on digital markets are determined by algorithms and are based on the collection of big data. Algorithms are used, for example, to manage electronic auctions for the sale of on-line advertising, to buy and sell shares, to develop company sales strategies and to provide advice to consumers.

The project aims to understand how the main algorithmic principles regulating digital markets work. In particular, it will address the algorithmic market project, the development of simple and efficient decision-making mechanisms, and the algorithmic analysis and understanding of big data acquisition by applications.

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