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The European Research Council (ERC) has launched a fellowship programme that facilitates future ERC applicants to visit research teams of current grantees, and is designed to stimulate the capacities of researchers to fare better in grant competitions. With the aim to advance a long standing ambition for winding participation and to drive the potential for frontier research across Europe, the programme will enable participants to share knowledge, gain first hand experience and prepare them to effectively respond to ERC calls.
This month’s roll out of the programme follows a January 2016 initiative of the ERC, that invited national and regional authorities in Europe to fund visits of potential grantees, also bringing the adoptions of guidelines for the scheme.
Scientific excellence as well as the displayed potential of applicants to be awarded an ERC grant, will drive selection for the programme – the fellowships being open to researchers from all disciplines. To kick start the process the ERC has reached out in a call for expressions of interest, to around 2800 current grantees encouraging them to host visits. At this point five countries - Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia, as well as the Belgian region of Flanders - have adopted the fellowships. More counties are expected to follow, and particular hopes are placed on the programme to be set up in those ‘regions performing less well in research’. The ERC itself will not directly involve in the selection process and costs of the visits (lasting up to six months) are expected to be covered by the organisers. Beneficiaries of the fellowships will be obliged to apply for an ERC grant following their visit.
The ERC also welcomes two new members to its Scientific Council, that consist of 22 distinguished scientists and scholars representing the scientific community and acting as ERC’s governing body.
Professor Kurt Mehlhorn will join the Scientific Council, as the current director of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Informatics and Professor of Computer Science at Saarland University. Further extending ERC’s pool of expertise an independent committee , has appointed Professor Nektarios Tavernarakis for membership – joining the Scientific Council in his current position as Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, at the Foundation for Research and Technology, and Professor of Molecular Systems Biology at the Medical School of the University of Crete, Heraklion.