On 16 June, the ERC reached a milestone with its 5000th top researcher funded: Dr Iva Tolić, a leading Croatian cell biophysicist. The celebrations in Brussels were reflected in a favourable coverage in the media. There was a BBC World Service debate with Commissioner Carlos Moedas, ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and grant holders Dr Iva Tolić and Dr Veerle Huvenne about the future of European science. Science Business highlighted the ERC's achievements so far, and The Guardian used the celebration to remind UK scientists of the dangers of voting to leave the EU. In Dr Iva Tolić's home country, both newspapers (Večernji List, among many) and national TV RTL featured the ERC, mentioning that its grants are comparable to the Oscars.
ERC in the Press
After an all-night discussion, the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament agreed to exclude the ERC from contributing from its budget to the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). According to the ERC President, this decision gives a clear sign that frontier research has an important role to play in Europe.
Spain is in the process of setting up the State Agency for Research, a science funding body, which will be linked to the Spanish Ministry of Research, but will remain autonomous in terms of financing, evaluating and verifying research projects proposed for funding. The agency will be based on the model of the ERC, with the hope to assure efficient and flexible management.
ERC advanced grantee Prof. Daniel Miller wants to draw a global map of social media, to understand how they are used around the world and to see the implications it could bring. With his team, he is comparing how people interact through social media in Brazil, Chile, China, England, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey.17 May, 2015
How is lightning initiated? A fruitful collaboration between astronomers, particle physicists and geophysicists now provides a vital clue to understanding thunderclouds. ERC Advanced grantee Prof. Heino Falcke and his team, who initially study black holes and cosmic rays, have discovered that cosmic rays could help measure electric fields in thunderclouds. Prof. Falcke suggests that, thanks to the discovery, "we might be able to better predict lightning (…) and perhaps gain practical tips to protect ourselves better.” Read also the ERC story.