One of this year’s Spinoza Prizes goes to Erik Verlinde. It comes with 2.5 million euros to fund the prize-winner’s research. Last fall Verlinde received a 2 million euro ERC Advanced Grant to fund his research program, so that’s a total this past year of 4.5 million euros, or about $6.5 million.
I’ve no idea how Verlinde will spend the money, but it looks like emergent gravity research will be extremely well financed. $6.5 million I’d estimate corresponds to about 100 postdoc-years. In a couple weeks Verlinde will unveil his latest work at Strings 2011. Since that’s among the most expensive conferences around (see here), perhaps he could chip in to fund it. I’d estimate he should be able to single-handedly fund Strings 20XX through at least 2050.