It's my first and last chance for the ERC consolidator grant (even though I am in reality a starter). Both the ERC grants and the Academy Researcher posts have an "expiry date": You cannot apply if you received your PhD more than 4 years ago (for the Academy Postdoc) or 9 years ago (for the Academy Research Fellow). For the ERC, the corresponding cut-offs are 7 years (for the starter grant) and 12 years (for the consolidator grant). This is borderline to age discrimination, but also my own fault since I completed my PhD too fast. The message for PhD students who want to stay in academia is clear: take your time and do NOT hurry to get your PhD degree! This is exaclty the opposite of what the Finnish Ministry of Education (OKM) pushes: to shorten the PhD to achieve international harmonization. It will be interesting to see what forces are stronger: the OKM withholding university funding for PhD durations longer than 4 years or the academic survival instinct of the individual PhD student. In my opinion, the quality of the average PhD degree from a Finnish university is going to change. In fact, this change has already started.
We applied for the ERC consolidator grant with a project to revolutionize antibody development.