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Creation of the ERC

The Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) is a platform of European learned societies and scientific organisations whose aim is to promote mechanisms to support basic science at a European level, involve scientists in the design and implementation of European science policies, and to advocate strong independent scientific advice in European policy making.

EPSO actively supports this initiative from the start and is a founding member of the ISE, that published an appeal Crucial choices for the nascent ERC in Science in March 2006 stating that “…decisions in the coming months need to ensure the ERC meets the high expectations as a truly autonomous agency that funds fundamental research in all disciplines on the basis of scientific excellence ..”. That followed its previous appeal calling on research ministers to decide in favor of the creation of a European Research Council (ERC) that is independent and whose budget is commensurate to the needs. The appeal is endorsed by 44 European organizations in all scientific disciplines, representing several hundred thousand researchers across Europe.

The European Commission established the 'Identification Committee' whose task was to identify potential members of the governing body of the ERC. The Committee was chaired by Chris Patten, former EU Commissioner and current Chancellor of Oxford University. Following consultation with some representative organizations, the Identification Committee issued the final report in June 2005.

Based on this, the European Commission finalised the Members of the Science Council to the ERC in July 2005 and undertakes further steps to discuss the ERC concept with the Member States and the European parliament.

The Science Council then invited representative organisations of the scientific community and organisations engaged in research funding activities in the MSs and FP associated countries to propose possible candidates for peer review panel members evaluating ERC Starting Grant applications.

Peer review of proposals will be carried out by panels of independent high-level scientists and scholars, supported by referees. It is anticipated that approximately 18 panels, each of about 10 members, will be established to cover all areas of science, including engineering, social science and humanities, covered by the ERC.

On 3 May 2006, the ERC Science Council published published two strategy notes ( Note 1 | Note 2 ) stating the ERC Principle of supporting investigator-initiated frontier research across all fields of research on the basis of excellence. Two funding streams, operating on a ‘bottom up’ basis across all research fields, will be the core of the ERC’s operations for the full duration of the 7th Framework Programme:

1st call: ERC Starting Grant = Adequate support ot he independent careers of excellent researchers, located in or moving to the EU and associated countries, who are at the stage of establishing their first research team or programme, whatever their nationality (close beg’07)

2nd call: = 1st + ERC Advanced Grant = Projects led by investigators at all subsequent career stages (later ’07), more details to be published in a future strategy note.

Major documents:

 


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EPSO is an independent academic organisation currently representing 61 institutional members bringing together more than 204 research institutes, departments and universities from 29 countries in Europe and beyond.