€2 million awarded for Leicester expert’s research

A prestigious €2 million research grant has been awarded to Dr Erin Thomas Dailey, a lecturer in the School of History, Politics & International Relations at the University of Leicester.

Dr Dailey takes his place as one of 327 academics awarded by the 2020 European Research Council (ERC). His five-year research project will examine domestic slavery and sexual exploitation in the households of Europe, North Africa, and the Near East, from Constantine to c. AD 900 / AH 287.

Grantees including Dr Dailey will be carrying out their research projects at universities, research centres and companies in 23 different countries across Europe, with the United Kingdom and Germany primed as leading locations. Leicester has had multiple successes in supporting its academics to achieve these prestigious research awards.

Professor Iain Gillespie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise commented: 

“The European Union’s investment in frontier research is an investment in all our futures as it empowers us to understand and change our world for the better.

“We are absolutely delighted to celebrate this achievement with Dr Dailey; he is in great company with some previous ERC grant holders going on to win a Nobel Prize or to be awarded the Fields Medal.

“Projects like his epitomise leadership in world-class research and we are proud that they also represent Leicester’s continuing, strong engagement with the European research community.”

Dr Dailey said:

“I am truly delighted to have been enabled to pursue this project, which has the potential to dramatically advance our understanding of slavery and wider society across the greater Mediterranean world from the 4th to 9th centuries.

“The sexual exploitation of the unfree during this formative period for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam profoundly affected wider society in ways that necessitate this large-scale, multi-contextual collaborative investigation.”

Dr Dailey’s research project aims to reconstruct the motivations and justifications behind the sexual exploitation of domestic slaves, identify how the lived experience in the household shaped the content of our sources, reveal how a common Roman inheritance impacted later practices, and explain the similarities and differences found within Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities across the region.

The funding award forms part of the EU’s current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and worth in total €655 million. With this support, new grantees will be able to consolidate their teams and have far reaching impact.