Top EU Research Grant for the CEU Cognitive Development Center

Gergely Csibra, Professor of Psychology, Cognitive Development Center (CDC), CEU, has been awarded a 1.5 million Euro Investigator Research Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) in the “Social Sciences and Humanities” category for his research proposal entitled “Human Infants' Contribution to Learning from Others by Ostensive-Referential Communication”, the Brussels-based organization announced at the end of last week. The first European funding body set up to support investigator-driven pioneering research, this year's grant was awarded to 236 researchers from among 2167 applications in various fields—from economics to nanotechnology.

Professor Csibra is the fourth CEU professor to win the EU grant since the competition was established two years ago. The award is a boon for the university’s Cognitive Development Center, the research facility founded by Professor Csibra and his colleague, Professor Gyorgy Gergely, to study cognitive development in human infants, in 2008. The announcement coincided with a two-day conference marking the center’s official opening this past weekend. (For further information about the conference click here)

Professor Csibra’s award provides resources for five years of research in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience (starting from the spring of 2010), to be conducted in the Cognitive Development Center. The main focus of the research is the question of how human infants learn from adults' child-directed communication and how this affect, and influenced by, their brain development. The grant can be used to hire new research personnel, to buy additional research equipment, for participation at conferences and for the organization of workshops and conferences. “This is a field that is labor-intensive and requires expensive brain-imaging technology,” said Professor Csibra on Friday. “The award means we that we will have the resources to continue our research on infant development during the coming years.”

The ERC Investigator Research Grant further supports one of the main objectives of CEU, the focus on research. The state-of-the-art research undertaken by the professor and his team will attract academics and students from all over the world, further establishing CEU as a prestigious international cognitive science research center.