Thirteen new 'ERA Chairs' to increase research excellence across EU
Brussels, 13 February 2015
Thirteen universities, technical institutes and private organisations in those parts of Europe that have not done as well as they could in research and innovation are to receive up to €2.5 million each in EU funding to boost their research capacity through the appointment of "ERA Chairs", the European Commission announced today.
The funding, coming from the EU's research and innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020, will enable these institutions to attract top academics so that they can compete with centres of excellence elsewhere in the European Research Area (ERA). The aim is to bridge Europe's innovation divide by making sure that no one with potential is left behind.
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: "To make European research the best in the world, we need to unlock the potential in all parts of Europe. With the new ERA chairs we are helping promising regions attract the best research talent and strengthen their standing as research excellence centres."
Eleven ERA Chairs have already been funded by a pilot call under the 7th research framework programme (FP7 - IP/14/125). The thirteen new ones will now be established in Estonia, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, Portugal and Romania (a full list of selected projects is available here). A total of 88 proposals were submitted for evaluation.
Once recruited, the ERA Chairs and their teams will undertake research in a wide spectrum of scientific fields, such as solar thermal energy, supramolecular chemistry, clinical genomics, or educational innovation.
The ERA Chairs initiative is an important part of the EU's effort to unlock Europe's potential in research and innovation. Eligible Member states include all those that joined the EU after 2004 plus Portugal and Luxembourg, as well as eight of the non-EU countries associated to Horizon 2020. All 15 eligible EU Member States submitted proposals in the first call under Horizon 2020, and the successful projects were selected by independent experts on the basis of excellence, following standard Horizon 2020 procedures.
Following the pilot call under FP7, this first Horizon 2020 call on ERA Chairs was launched on 11 December 2013 with a budget of €33.6 million. The selected institutions have to award ERA Chairs to outstanding academics who have the capacity to raise standards and attract more high level staff as well as money from other sources, such as EU research funding or regional funds. The positions must be published and respect ERA guidelines (gender balance, fairness, transparency, etc.). ERA Chair holders can come from anywhere in the world.
Under Horizon 2020, the EU's research funding programme, a strong packet of measures with up to €800 million in funding will be available for widening participation of low-research performing Member States. Such actions include special awards like the ERA Chairs instrument, Teaming (new centres of excellence – IP/15/3885) or Twinning (institutional networking that includes support on staff exchanges, expert advice and assistance)
For more information
- List of projects to be funded under the first Horizon 2020 ERA Chairs Call [pdf]
- "Widening" call on Participant Portal
- Horizon 2020