Ask ERCEA officers: a roundtable discussion on career development and ERC funding opportunities

Speaker: Dr. Janka Mátrai
Institute: European Research Council
Country: Belgium
Speaker Link:
Speaker: Dr. Balázs Pinter
Institute: European Research Council
Country: Belgium
Speaker Link:
Time: 11:00 CET 30-Jan-24

Dr Janka Mátrai and Dr Balázs Pinter

Scientific Project Adviser at The Executive Agency of the European Research Council

Janka Mátrai is a scientific project adviser at the ERCEA - The Executive Agency of the European Research Council (ERC), in the Life Sciences Unit. She is responsible for managing the whole life cycle
of grant application, evaluation and follow-up processes in two panels, Integrative Biology: From Genes and Genomes to Systems, and Neuroscience and Disorders of the Nervous System,
respectively. She is also involved in the widening participation campaign, which aims to close the gap between the Widening European Participation countries and the rest of the EU. Prior to this, she
worked as a scientific project officer at the Joint Research Centre – Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements in the Standards for Innovation and Sustainable Development, Reference
Materials for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Unit, where she was managing the production of certified DNA reference materials.
After graduating from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics as a bioengineer, Janka obtained her PhD degree in Biochemistry and Bioinformatics at the Catholic University of Leuven
(KUL), after which she continued with scientific research as a postdoctoral scientist in areas of Molecular Modelling and Drug Design, and Fundamental and Translational Medical Research, Gene
Therapy and Regenerative Medicine at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and the Free University of Brussels (VUB).
In this session, Janka will discuss some important factors that shaped her career path. She will also share her experience with scholarships and grant applications, highlighting some dos and don’ts.

Balazs Pinter recently joined the Physical Sciences and Engineering Unit of ERCEA – The Executive Agency of the European Research Council – as a scientific project adviser, where he is involved in all
aspects of the implementation of ERC’s work programme, from the evaluation of proposal to the follow-up of projects in both chemistry panels of the agency: Physical and Analytical Chemical
Sciences and Synthetic Chemistry and Materials. 
Before joining ERCEA, Dr. Pinter was an assistant professor at The University of Texas at El Paso where he headed the Computational OrganoMetallic and Inorganic Chemistry (COMIC) research
group with a research activity centred at the (photo)redox chemistry of transition metal complexes, and the rational engineering of their electrochemical properties via computational means, especially
density functional theory (DFT) based methods, amongst others. Prior experiences include professorships in Chile and Belgium and various postdoc positions at Indiana University Bloomington,
Duke University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and research visits at University of Girona and Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Energy conversion. Dr. Pinter holds a PhD in Chemistry and an MSc in Chemical
Engineering from Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary. 
In this session, Dr. Pinter will discuss the potential effect of omnipresent academic notions, such as ‘publish or perish’ and ‘red flags’ on the scientific career and in hiring processes, review the DORA
principles and Open Science practices and present the funding schemes of ERC. 

Keywords: molecular modelling, drug design, gene therapy, certified DNA reference materials, scientific project management, Density Functional Theory, photoredox catalysis, redox active ligands, DORA principles,
Open Science



European Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, Ask the Expert career session. 
The European Research Council’s online classes. 
Editorial, Nature 535, 465 (2016). Agencies must show that basic research is worth the investment
Mátrai, J, et al. (2015), Certification report. DNA Certified Refence Material
Mátrai J, et al. (2012). J Genet Syndr Gene Ther, S:1. Lentiviral Gene Therapy for Haemophilia A and B
Mátrai J*, Cantore A*, Bartholomae C*, et al. (2011). Hepatology, 53 (5),1696-707. *Equal
contribution. Hepatocyte-targeted expression by integrase-defective lentiviral vectors
Mátés L, et al. (2009). Nat Genet. 41 (6), 753-61. Novel hyperactive Sleeping Beauty transposase
enables robust stable gene transfer in vertebrates
Mátrai J, et al. (2010). Curr Opin Hematol. 17 (5), 387-92. Preclinical and clinical progress in
Mátrai J, et al. A Guide to Human Gene Therapy, 2010. A Guide to Human Gene Therapy

Mátrai J, et al. (2008). Eur Biophys J. 38 (1), 13-23. The activation pathway of Δα-Chymotrypsin
Le Roy K, et al. (2013). Plant Physiol. 161 (4), 1670-81. Defective Invertases in Plants: Tobacco Nin88
Fails to Degrade Sucrose
Mátrai J, et al. (2001). J. Org. Chem. 66 (17), 5671-5678. Mechanism of the Ring−Chain
Rearrangement in Phosphiranes
Veszprémi T, et al. (2001). THEOCHEM. 538 (1-3): 189-195. Lithium azaphospholide complexes
A Science Club in Brussels. Belgian Club of Hungarian Scientists

Sandoval-Pauker, C.; Pinter, B. “Electronic Structure Analysis of Copper Photoredox Catalysts
Using the Quasi-Restricted Orbital Approach”, J. Chem. Phys., 2022, 157, 074306.
Sandoval-Pauker, C.; Molina-Aguirre, G.; Pinter, B. “Status report on copper (I) complexes in
photoredox catalysis; photophysical and electrochemical properties and future prospects.”
Polyhedron, 2021, 199, 115105.
Medina, E.; Pinter, B. “An electron density difference analysis on the oxidative- and reductive
quenching cycles of classical iridium and ruthenium photoredox catalysts”, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2020,
124, 4223–4234.
Pinter, B.; Al-Saadon, R.; Chen, Z., Yang, W. “Spin-state energetics of iron(II) porphyrin from the
particle-particle random phase approximation” Eur. Phys. J.B., 2018, 91, 270.
Gazvoda, M.; Virant, M.; Pinter, B.; Košmrlj, J., “Mechanism of copper-free Sonogashira reaction
operates through palladium-palladium transmetallation” Nat. Commun. 2018, 9, 4814.


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