The 2014 Fields Medals were awarded today to four outstanding mathematicians, of whom two are grantees of the European Research Council (ERC): Prof. Artur Avila (Brazil-France), an ERC Starting grant holder since 2010, and Prof. Martin Hairer (Austria) has been selected for funding under an ERC Consolidator grant in 2013. They received the prize respectively for their work on dynamical systems and probability, and on stochastic analysis. The other two laureates are Prof. Manjul Barghava (Canada-US) and Prof. Maryam Mirzakhani (Iran). The Medals were announced at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) taking place from 13 – 21 August in Seoul, South Korea.
EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: “I would like to congratulate the four laureates of the Fields Medal announced today. The Fields Medal, the highest international distinction for young mathematicians, is a well-deserved honour for hardworking and creative young researchers who push the boundaries of knowledge. Today’s award recognises the achievements of two Europe-based mathematicians – Artur Avila and Martin Hairer – who are supported by the European Research Council. This is one more sign that the ERC, which supports excellent science through competitive funding under Horizon 2020, has become a reference in the EU’s quest for high-quality research and innovation.”
The Fields Medals are awarded by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) once every four years to up to four mathematicians under the age of 40. The Prize recognises and rewards young mathematicians who have made major contributions to the field of mathematics and who hold promises for future achievements. Since 1936, 52 mathematicians have been honoured, of whom already two ERC grantees Prof. Stanislav Smirnov (2010) and Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss (2010). A third ERC grantee, Prof. Simon K. Donaldson was also awarded the Medal in 1986, before getting his ERC grant (2009).
Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council (ERC) is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe.
From 2007 to 2013 under the seventh EU Research Framework Programme (FP7), the ERC's budget was €7.5 billion. Under the new EU research programme (2014-2020), Horizon 2020, the ERC has a substantially increased budget of over €13 billion. Since its launch, the ERC has funded over 4,500 researchers and has become a 'reference point' for excellent research.