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Press Release

Search committee invites nominations for next
President of the European Research Council

Brussels, 28 January 2013

The independent search committee set up by the European Commission for the selection of the future President of the European Research Council (ERC) is consulting the scientific community on potential candidates. The ERC President will chair the ERC Scientific Council and will be the voice and public face of the ERC.  As such, s/he is expected to be a prominent advocate of frontier research and ambassador of European science within and beyond Europe, with the aim of strengthening further the ERC's performance and prestige and Europe's science base in frontier research.

The ERC is a science-led funding body, created to enable talented and creative individual researchers and their teams to pursue the most promising avenues at the frontier of science, on the basis of Union-wide competition. It operates autonomously: an independent Scientific Council made up of scientists, engineers and scholars of the highest repute and expertise establishes the overall scientific strategy and has full authority over decisions on the type of research to be funded. The Scientific Council is supported by a dedicated implementation structure, the ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA).

The Commission has set up an ad hoc search committee of independent and highly regarded persons, with the mandate to conduct the selection of the future ERC President and submit to the Commission a shortlist of potential candidates.

The ERC President will chair the ERC Scientific Council, ensure its leadership and its liaison with the ERC Executive Agency and represent the ERC in the world of science.  S/he should be:

  • A senior and internationally renowned and respected scientist;
  • An innovative research leader, combining wisdom and experience with vision and imagination and acknowledged openness towards all fields of science and scholarship;
  • A personality that has the trust and confidence of the scientific community and is renowned for her/his independence and commitment to research;
  • A prominent figure of European Science, able to defend the case of frontier research in Europe and to communicate effectively.

The ERC President will reside in Brussels for the duration of the appointment and devote most of her/his time (in principle at least 80%) to ERC activities. S/he will be appointed and remunerated as a Special Adviser to the Commission. The term of office is four years, renewable once. No age limit applies. Nominees must be citizens of an EU Member State.

Nominations are invited from organisations representative of the various segments of the research community at national and European level. The Committee expects that the nominating bodies, before submitting their nominations, will have established the willingness of candidates to serve.  The Search Committee will itself also search actively for candidates.

Nominations, accompanied by curriculum vitae (and a one-page summary CV), should be sent to: rtd-erc-seco@ec.europa.eu by 22 March 2013. The Committee will treat the names and personal details of nominees in strict confidence.

The Search Committee is composed as follows:

Lord SAINSBURY of Turville, FRS, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (Chair)
Catherine CESARSKY, Haut Conseiller scientifique, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique
Suzanne FORTIER, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Michal KLEIBER, President of the Polish Academy
Jadran LENARČIČ, Director of the Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana
Erwin NEHER, Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Salvatore SETTIS, Former Director, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

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