ERC Consolidator - Carlos Romero Nieto


This is the first time that the academic institution has achieved this funding for a project.

Our colleague, Professor Carlos Romero Nieto has won a project in the competitive "ERC Consolidator" call of the European Union's Horizon Europe programme for top-level researchers. The project, with a budget of 2 million euros, is the first funding of this type in the history of UCLM and will allow the creation and application of innovative materials based on phosphorus for the advancement of new optical technologies.

The project won by the researcher Carlos Romero Nieto represents the first funding of this type to be obtained by the UCLM in its history. With this amount, the research group led by the professor will study over the next five years the manufacture and application of new materials based on the element of phosphorus for the development of new optical technologies "that allow the detection of a wide variety of human biomolecules such as, for example, those related to hypertension and other diseases of great medical relevance. This project will be a great boost for the science developed at the regional university, as well as an important economic source for the recruitment of research staff," he says.

Carlos Romero Nieto, a native of Socuéllamos, was thrilled by this achievement and thanked his family for their unconditional support throughout his scientific career; the teachers at the Gerardo Martínez school and the Fernando de Mena secondary school in Socuéllamos, as well as those at the UCLM, "who have contributed to my personal and academic training", he said. In the same way, he wanted to thank all the researchers and mentors who have contributed to the success of this project, as well as the rectorial teams with whom he has worked, especially the current rector, Julián Garde, both for betting on his incorporation to the regional University from the first moment when he was vice-rector of Research, and for the support received during his scientific career. "This achievement not only represents the success of a scientific project and a research career, but also the message that it is possible. It is possible to start training in a village in Castilla-La Mancha to progressively achieve whatever one sets out to do, in this case, to achieve the highest international scientific level". 

The funding of the successful project is highly competitive, with scientists from all over Europe participating annually. In the 2022 call, more than 2222 project applications were submitted, with only 321 of them (14%) funded, of which, across all disciplines, only 24 were awarded to Spanish researchers. This type of programme is unique in the world as there is no equivalent on any other continent. 

The evaluation system for proposals submitted to the ERC (European Research Council) calls for proposals goes through a strict process structured in two phases: evaluation of the research project and the researcher's scientific career by more than ten international experts, and a final interview before a committee of fifteen experts from the European Union. Finally, the projects are ranked in order of excellence, and only those with the highest scores are funded. 

Carlos Romero holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the UCLM, which he rejoined in 2018 with a contract from the prestigious Ramón y Cajal state programme. He has published more than 55 articles in top-level scientific journals, 18 of which have appeared on the cover. Since starting his research group at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) in 2013, he has supervised 50 researchers and led eleven research projects with regional, national and international funding. He has presented the science of his research group at more than 50 scientific conferences and given 25 seminars at some of the most prestigious universities in 4 continents such as the universities of Berkeley (USA), Alberta (Canada), Kyoto (Japan), Auckland (New Zealand), Imperial College (UK), etc.

In 2022, Dr. Romero Nieto was a visiting professor at the University of Berkeley, whose chemistry faculty is ranked first in the world. He has been awarded in 2016 with the prestigious Hengstberger Prize for Young Researchers, by the University of Heidelberg; in 2018 with the National Prize for Young Researchers, by the Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry (RSEQ); in 2020 with the Prize for Young Researchers, by the RSEQ of CLM and in 2021 with the Fellow Award of the International Association for Advanced Materials of Sweden. In 2019, with a second thesis, he was the first Spanish chemist to obtain the German habilitation by the University of Heidelberg (Venia Legendi) in 634 years of history of the university. 

You can find more information about the news on the UCLM website.