News Alert

News Alert

Brussels, 23 September 2008

Set up of the ERC Identification Committee

The European Commission today announced the members of the European Research Council Identification Committee, tasked with identifying future ERC Scientific Council members. The mandate of this independent Committee is twofold: to identify three new members of the Scientific Council and to establish a method for future replacements of members.

The Committee consists of four highly respected personalities from the research scene:

  • Prof. Eero Vuorio (chair); Chancellor of the University of Turku. Chair of the Finnish National Advisory Board of Research Ethics. Member EMBL Council. Acting chair of Steering Committee for EuroBioFund (ESF). Former Chair of the Research Council for Health Academy of Finland).
  • Prof. Hélène Ahrweiler; Emeritus Professor of Sorbonne University. Former President of the University of Paris-I. Former President and Chancellor of the Universities of Paris. Former Director of the Research Center for Byzantine and Christian Near East History and Civilization, Paris.
  • Prof. Zita Aušrelė Kučinskienė; Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Chairperson of the Department, Vilnius University. Director of the Centre of Laboratory Diagnostics Vilnius University Hospital. Member of the Standing Committee of the Regional Committee for Europe of the World Health Organization. Member of Eurab 2.
  • Prof. Arnold Schmidt; Emeritus Professor Vienna University of Technology. Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Austrian Science Fund. Member of Academia Europaea. Former member of Eurab 1.

The forthcoming renewal of the Scientific Council follows the recent resignations, on personal grounds, of the three members Professor Manuel Castells, Professor Paul J. Crutzen and Professor Lord May of Oxford OM AC. The founding members of the Scientific Council were appointed by an earlier identification committee chaired by Lord Patten.

European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik said, "This identification process has been established to guarantee that the renewal of the ERC Scientific Council, now and in the future, complies with the highest standards of transparency and recognised excellence of the selected members. I am very grateful to Prof. Vuorio and his team for agreeing to take on this task. The committee will operate with the support and confidence of the Commission and with full independence. I greatly appreciate the important contributions of Professors Castells, Crutzen and Lord May and their commitment to the European Research Council during its most crucial setting-up phase".

The Committee will meet throughout this autumn and its final report will be sent to the European Parliament and to the Council of the European Union. The appointments are foreseen for early 2009.

New Scientific Council members are appointed by the Commission following an independent and transparent procedure for their identification, including a consultation of the scientific community. Members are identified on the basis of the criteria set out in the Commission Decision establishing the ERC of 2 February 2007 (2007/134/EC, Annex I).

Background information

News release on Identification process:

ERC Scientific Council:

ERC milestones: 


Catherine Ray, European Commission spokesperson for Science and Research
Tel: +32 2 296 99 21
Mob: +32 498 96 99 21

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