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ERC to foster cooperation with Australian top researchers

Prof. Anne Kelso, CEO for the NHMRC, and by Michael Pulch, Ambassador of the European Union to Australia Source: NHMRC

On 22 October, the European Commission and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which is Australia’s main government investor in health and medical research, have signed an agreement that aims to increase cooperation in top-level research between the EU and Australia. The exchanges will take place in the framework of the European Research Council (ERC), the European funding organisation for excellent frontier research founded by the EU in 2007 and currently part of the EU’s Horizon2020 programme. 

Thanks to this initiative, top NHMRC-funded researchers will be able to join ERC-funded research teams in Europe and work together in the fields of health and medicine. The visits can either be in the form of a single, long-term visit of up to 12 months, or multiple short-term visits of a minimum of 3 months (for example for short experiments). The EU has a long tradition of cooperation with Australia in the area of research and innovation, with the first treaty-level science and technology agreement signed between the two countries already in 1994. According to EU data, Australia has more collaboration with the European Union than with any single country in the world: in the period 2011-2015, Australia was the European Union’s fifth highest non-EU collaborator and over 13000 co-publications were produced in that time-frame.
Since its foundation, the ERC has funded over 9 000 individual researchers, via its four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidators, Advanced and Synergy Grants. The 2019 ERC calls have recently been published and they can be accessed in our Calls section . ERC launched its internationalisation strategy in 2012, with the signing of an agreement with the USA’s National Science Foundation (NSF). Since then, other agreements followed with South Korea, Argentina, Japan, China, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Canada. The NHMRC is the twelfth research agency to take part in such an initiative.