Important legal notices
   
Contact   |   Search   

 

Home

Basic Research Policy in the ERA - Chronology

European Research Council

Structure of the ERC

Scientific Council of ERC

The ERC Identification Committee

Documents

Links

Contact

Chronology of Basic Research Policy in the European Research Area

The idea of a European Research Council (ERC) to support basic research in Europe has become a serious political project over the last two years. Following the debate on the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA) at the Council of Ministers in November 2002, an ERC Expert Group (ERCEG), set up under the Danish EU Presidency, delivered a report on the creation of a European Research Council at the end of 2003. Other reports have been supportive of the idea, in particular the ESF position paper. Furthermore, this idea has received the backing of a group of Nobel Prize Winners. The Commission has been very active in moving the debate forward.

In January 2004, following an invitation from the Council of Ministers, the Commission presented a Communication "Europe and basic research", analysed the situation of basic research in Europe and made a number of proposals for action.

In February 2004, the Irish Presidency organized a symposium in Dublin “Europe’s search for Excellence in Basic Research” gathering participants from the political, scientific and industrial scene to discuss this subject, and published a set of recommendations strongly supporting a new basic research funding mechanism for Europe.

In March 2004, the Competitiveness Council addressed this issue and its conclusions recognized the need to stimulate excellence in basic research by encouraging more competition in science-driven research.

These conclusions were endorsed and highlighted by the Spring European Council on 25-26 March 2004 addressing competitiveness in Europe (the Lisbon strategy).

In June 2004, the Commission presented a Communication on the future of research in Europe “Science and technology, the key to Europe’s future – Guidelines for future European Union policy to support research”, which included as one of the six major objectives, the stimulation of the creativity of basic research through competition between teams at European level.

In November 2004, the Competitiveness Council examined the different elements of the Communication of the Commission on the future of research in Europe.

In April 2005, the European Commission proposed the creation of the European Research Council through the 7th Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013).

In September 2005 the Commission presented a detailed Proposal for the ERC under the IDEAS Specific Programme supporting “investigator-driven” research carried out across all fields by individual teams in competition at the European level.

In November 2005, the Competitiveness Council came to a broad consensus on the structure of the ERC with the 7th Framework Programme.


ERCEG - the European Research Council Expert Group, December 2003
The ERCEG was set up on the initiative of the Danish Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, during the Danish EU presidency. It was a follow-up to the debate in the Council of Ministers in November 2002 on the status of the European Research Area (ERA). In its final report the ERCEG recommends that a European Fund for Research Excellence should be established by the European Union and a European Research Council (ERC) should be created to manage the Fund. The main task for the ERC would be to support investigator-driven research of the highest quality selected through European competition.

Read the ERCEG Report (PDF 255 KB)

“Europe and basic research” COM(2004)9, 14 January 2004
The Communication points out the important impact of basic research on economic and social progress. It stresses that Europe suffers from several weaknesses as regards basic research, connected mainly to the fragmentation of the national research systems and to the absence of a sufficient competition between research teams on a European scale. In order to make benefits of the scientific potential in Europe, the Communication proposes to introduce at European level a new initiative to support research projects of individual teams on the basis of scientific excellence only. This new initiative would stimulate creativity, excellence and innovation, and would rely on a new form of European Added Value, hitherto unexploited in the Framework Programme.

Read the Commission Communication “Europe and Basic Research”
Read the Press Release

The Dublin Symposium, 16-17 February 2004
On 16-17 February, the Irish Presidency organized a high-level Symposium, on the need to strengthen excellence in Europe whose participants were political, scientific and industrial actors at a very high level including the Science Ministers of 8 European countries. The symposium agreed that there is a clear challenge for Europe to enhance the levels of creativity and excellence in basic research in the context of global competition.

Read the final conclusions of the Symposium

Competitiveness Council, 11 March 2004
The Council agreed conclusions which recognized the need to stimulate excellence in basic research by encouraging more competition in science-driven research. The Ministers acknowledged the need to examine the case for specific funding for basic research in the Commission's next research funding programme, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Read the Council Conclusions on Basic Research

Spring European Council, 25-26 March 2004
“The main European instrument in the research area is the European Framework Programme for Research and Development. [...] The European Council sees merit in enhanced support for basic research of the highest quality and the case for specific funding will be examined. It awaits with interest a proposal from the European Commission which may include the possibility of setting up a Research Council.”, (excerpt from the Presidency Conclusions).

Read the Presidency Conclusions

“Science and technology, the key to Europe’s future – Guidelines for future European Union policy to support research”, COM (2004) 353, 16 June 2004
The Commission proposed orientations for the development of future European Union programmes to support research activities. It suggested organising its action around six major objectives in order to increase the impact of the European Union’s action. One of the novelties is the creation of a mechanism to stimulate the creativity of basic research through competition between teams at European level.

Read this Commission Communication “Science and technology, the key to Europe’s future”
Read the Press Release

Competitiveness Council, 26 November 2004
At the Council’s meeting, after a vivid debate on the different elements of the Communication on the Future of EU Research, the overwhelming majority of the Member States supported the Presidency Council conclusions.

Read the Press release

“Commission Proposal for Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the seventh framework programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013)”, COM(2005)119 final, 6 April 2005
The Commission has put forward an ambitious proposal for the EU Seventh Research Framework Programme 2007-2013 (FP7) which provides new impetus to increase Europe’s growth and competitiveness, recognising that knowledge is Europe’s most important asset. The Commission proposed in particular to double the FP7 budget compared with FP6 over the period 2007-2013. The programme will also for the first time provide support for the best in European investigator-driven research, with the creation of a European Research Council.
Read the Commission’s proposals for FP7 532 KB
Read the Press release
(Note: Commission’s proposals are the starting point of political negotiations with Council and European Parliament.)

Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the specific programme: “Ideas”, COM(2005) 441 final, 21 September 2005
The Ideas programme will establish an autonomous European Research Council to support investigator-driven projects in “frontier research”, carried out by individual teams competing at the European level, in all scientific and technological fields, including engineering, socio-economic sciences and the humanities. The key principles for the operation of the ERC will be scientific autonomy and excellence.
Read the Commission’s proposal for IDEAS Specific Programme

Read the press release of 21 September 2005

Competitiveness Council, 28-29 November 2005
The Council approved, by a large majority, a “partial general approach” on the 7th Framework Programmes (FP7). The “partial general approach” will provide a basis for future discussions following the opinion of the European Parliament and in the light of the results reached on the EU's financial perspectives for 2007-2013.
Read the press release

 

Highlights

 

Top

last update: 17/05/06