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The European Research Council – what does the future hold?

Following the results of the independent review of the European Research Council (ERC) concluded some months ago, the European Commission proposes now a roadmap for the future, in order to increase the Council’s efficiency and long-term sustainability. Two steps in this direction are detailed upon. Primarily, and as a short term objective, the Commission will strive to recruit a scientist with strong administrative experience and sound managerial background to lead the ERC Executive Agency. Secondly, and more of a medium term aim, the Commission will work to engage the European Parliament and the Council in broader and substantial thinking on the financial and administrative rules for supporting research and innovation.

These are not the only changes within the ERC. Professor Fotis C. Kafatos, one of the founding fathers and currently President of the ERC, announced that he will step down from this position as of 1 March 2010. Nevertheless, Prof Kafatos will continue to remain highly committed to the Council: he remains a member of ERC’s Scientific Council and was recently appointed Honorary President of ERC. His successor is Professor Helga Nowotny, an Austrian social scientist and former ERC Vice-President. She was elected unanimously as next President and Chair of the Scientific Council and will take office as of 1 March 2010.

The expectations run high on Prof. Nowotny, who now has not only to equal the performance of her predecessor, but also cope with European Commission’s plans for ERC.

European Commission