24.01.2013 - The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded €680m to 302 top basic researchers in 24 EU countries.
The awards are part of the latest series of the ERC’s Advanced Grants, which give up to €2.5m per researcher to pursue ground-breaking ideas at the frontiers of knowledge. Life Science researchers were very successful in this call, bagging 37% of the total funding cake. However, at only 13%, the ERC grant’s success rate is very low compared to other funding programmes. The European Commission has proposed to expand the ERC's budget significantly in its 2014-2020 innovation programme Horizon 2020. Negotiations with the member states about the long-term EU budget including Horizon2020, however, were cancelled at the end of last year. This is why the ERC has now begun to extend its lobbying activities.
ERC representative Helga Nowotny, thus, for the first time attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to embrace industry and policymakers. ”The health and wealth of future societies greatly depend on maintaining the long-term perspectives that science offers,“ said ERC chief Nowotny.."Investment in research, education and innovation is even more important in times of budgetary austerity, in Europe and elsewhere. Leaders from all fields, including business, understand this dynamic, but need to find novel ways of joining forces. We truly believe that science, as well as technology and innovation, will emerge as a common theme of interest to shape the agenda of the future decades”.
The idea to catalyse actions for putting science, technology and innovation on the global agenda has already started and is likely to be prominent in this year's forum. There is growing awareness amongst policy-makers worldwide and public research organisations, of the fact that globalisation of science offers unprecedented opportunities for cooperation. In Davos, one of the sessions will be devoted to how decision-makers, business, civil society and academia can join forces to build a new vision based on frontier research, scientific discoveries and innovation.
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