Université de Nantes is a partner in one of the largest current European research programmes (€10 million). John Tolan, Professor of History at the University and a specialist in the medieval Mediterranean world, is one of the four scientific leaders of the “EuQu” (The European Qur’an) programme devoted to the study of the Koran and its influence on European culture in medieval and modern times. He is one of seven French researchers involved in one of the 27 European projects selected by the European Research Council (ERC).

John Tolan

Over the next six years, the EuQu research programme – which benefits from the Synergy Grants programme – will enable an interdisciplinary research team led by John Tolan to study how the Koran (Qur'an) was interpreted, adapted and used in Christian Europe from the Middle Ages to the early modern era. Researchers will focus on the influence of the “Qur'an” on the religious, cultural and intellectual history of Europe during this period (1150 – 1850).

John Tolan


John Tolan graduated from Yale (Bachelor of Arts in Classics in 1981), Chicago (Master’s & PhD in 1990) and then from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (HDR [accreditation to supervise research] in 2001). He is currently Professor of Medieval History at the Université de Nantes and a member of the Academia Europæa. He is co-director of the Institute for Religious Pluralism and Atheism (IPRA) and the author of more than 55 articles published in international journals and collective works. He coordinated the European research programme RELMIN (ERC Advanced Grant) on the legal status of religious minorities in the Euro-Mediterranean area (5th–15th centuries).

ERC Synergy Grants


Launched by the European Research Council, the ERC Synergy Grants call for projects is open to teams of two to four researchers to jointly conduct ambitious research projects. The objective is to bring together skills, knowledge and resources at the European level to jointly solve ambitious research problems. So far, 27 European projects have been selected involving 88 researchers from 63 universities and research centres in 17 countries; 250 million euros have already been allocated.