Keeping Europe on the map in an ever more competitive world through the ERC

Davos, 24 January 2015

Carlos Moedas - Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

Check Against Delivery

Ladies and gentlemen,

The professors and I share the opinion that fundamental, visionary research is vital to our future prosperity.

Science and research undertaken by frontrunners and emerging leaders in their field. Creating knowledge. Exploring new parameters. Conjuring the scientific and technological breakthroughs that improve our lives, give rise to new business opportunities and greatly increase our global competitiveness.

The European Research Council (ERC) is a research funding body, set up by the EU in 2007. Since then, it has funded some of the most brilliant, new and tested, minds around. Enabling them to conduct their cutting-edge work in Europe.

The ERC is part of the EU funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 is our biggest public research programme to date, and the ERC has received around 13 billion euro for the years 2014–2020.

ERC funding has proven to be an invaluable asset to Europe.

The ERC has supported over 4300 Principal Researchers, of 64 different nationalities, located in 600 research performing establishments, in 30 countries of the EU and the Associated Countries so far. Providing grants to the people whose discoveries can start new industries, new markets, and improve our quality of life.

The ERC's curiosity-driven, competitive approach has enabled it to fund a broad portfolio of research. Including projects which address the grand challenges, as well as the fundamental questions, faced by European and global society.

Like Norwegian husband-and-wife team Professor May-Britt and Edvard Moser's 2014 Nobel prize winning discovery, of proof of the human brain's inner navigation system.

To keep our economy competitive we must remain at the forefront of research, science and innovation. To remain at the forefront, we must encourage researchers to take risks.

Only by enabling our top talent to explore the unknown, can we stretch the limits of our understanding and break new ground. For every project and attempt that is unsuccessful, there is still the further opportunity to learn from what went wrong.

Europe needs to encourage its thinkers and risk takers.

Secured funding, in the form of grants, frees researchers from concerns about the immediate impact of their work, multiple grant applications and pressure to publish. It allows especially young, emerging leaders to really focus on their core research.

To advance as a competitive global partner, we need the world's best to make Europe their laboratory. To make Europe the destination of choice for the world's most ground breaking scientists, researchers and innovators.