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Scientific Council of the European Research Council announced / Worrying trends in R&D investment in Europe

(18 July 2005) The European Commission has announced the names of the 22 eminent men and women who will be the founding members of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC), a funding organisation for frontier research proposed by the European Commission under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (2007-2013). The Scientific Council will be an independent body whose role is to determine the ERC’s scientific strategy and ensure that its operations are conducted according to the requirements of scientific excellence. The 22 scientists were chosen by an independent panel of high-level scientists.  Five members of the Council are internationally recognized scientists in various fields of research in the social, economic and human sciences (the five are highlighted below in bold).  This representation is “a good outcome for the Social Sciences and Humanities” according to Mr. Lennon, a Director in DG Research.

The 22 founding members of the Scientific Council are:

Dr. Claudio BORDIGNON (IT)
Professor Manuel CASTELLS (ES)
Prof. Dr. Paul J. CRUTZEN (NL),
Prof. Mathias DEWATRIPONT (BE)
Dr. Daniel ESTEVE (FR)
Prof. Pavel EXNER (CZ)
Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim FREUND (DE)
Prof. Wendy HALL (UK)
Prof. Dr. Carl-Henrik HELDIN (SE)
Prof. Dr. Fotis C. KAFATOS (GR)
Prof. Dr. Michal KLEIBER (PL)
Prof. Norbert KROO (HU)
Prof. Maria Teresa V.T. LAGO (PT)
Prof Robert MAY (UK)
Prof. Helga NOWOTNY (AT)
Prof. Christiane NÜSSLEIN-VOLHARD (DE)
Prof. Alain PEYRAUBE (FR)
Prof. Salvatore SETTIS (IT)

In its proposal for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (2007-2013), published in April 2005, the Commission proposed the creation of an autonomous European Research Council to support “frontier research” carried out by research teams competing at European level, across all scientific and technological fields, as well as social science and the humanities. The objective of this proposal, which has been extremely well received both within the scientific community and by Member States’ governments, is to strengthen the excellence of European science. The ERC will fund the best of European science and scholarship, as assessed by peer review.

Worrying trends in R&D investment and innovation in Europe

(19 July 2005) In a related press release, the European Commission presented a new publication on Europe’s position in research and innovation. The “Key figures 2005 for science, technology and innovation” show worrying trends in R&D investment and innovation in Europe. The growth rate of R&D intensity (R&D expenditure as % of GDP) has been declining since 2000 and is now close to zero. Europe is on track to miss the objective it set itself to boost spending on R&D from 1,9 to 3% by 2010.

European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potoènik said: “We must heed this wake-up call. If the current trends continue, Europe will lose the opportunity to become a leading global knowledge-based economy.”

Commission press release: Scientific Council of the European Research Council announced Commission press release: Stagnation of R&D intensity a major threat to the European knowledge-based economy