The European Commission has today appointed seven experts to search for the next president of the European Research Council (ERC), the European Union's frontier science funding agency. The committee will be led by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and a former British science minister. The next ERC president will take up duties on Jan. 1, 2014, as successor to the current president Helga Nowotny.
As European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn stated: "The ERC is already one of stars of global research funding, and I am delighted that Lord Sainsbury has accepted my invitation to contribute to the ERC's development at a vital moment. As UK Science Minister in 2004, his decisive support to the ERC concept paved the way for what has become a true European success story. We are proud to have one of the founding fathers lead the selection of the future ERC President, an important milestone in the life of the ERC."
Lord Sainsbury said that he is happy to be able to contribute to this challenging new phase for the ERC since the agency is on its way to becoming a fully-mature funding organization. He also expressed his satisfaction over working together with six such distinguished colleagues.
The European Research Council was established in order to encourage high quality research in Europe. It awards grants through open competitions to projects headed by starting and established researchers based on scientific excellence. Its aim is to recognize the best ideas, and provide opportunities for both EU and non-EU researchers.
The search committee members will be: Lord SAINSBURY of Turville, FRS, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge; Catherine CESARSKY, Haut-commissaire au Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA); Suzanne FORTIER, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; Michał KLEIBER, President of the Polish Academy, Former Member of the ERC Scientific Council; Jadran LENARČIČ, Director of the Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana; Erwin NEHER, Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Medicine; Salvatore SETTIS, Former Director, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Former Member of the ERC Scientific Council.