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Press release | 14-05-2019

The European Commission today appointed Professor Mauro Ferrari as the next President of the European Research Council (ERC), taking office on 1 January 2020. On this occasion, the ERC Scientific Council stated:

As members of the ERC Scientific Council, we congratulate Professor Mauro Ferrari on his appointment as the next ERC President. We look forward to working together on the continued success of the ERC as Europe’s leading funding mechanism for excellent frontier research.

The appointment of Professor Mauro Ferrari is the outcome of a rigorous selection process in which an independent Search Committee made a thorough study of all applications received and, on that basis, prepared a short list of candidates for the position. The list was submitted to the ERC Scientific Council, which channelled its comments to European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, who made the final decision.

We support the outcome of the process wholeheartedly and welcome Professor Ferrari as the next leader of our unique organisation. Returning to Europe after a career as an accomplished scientist and leader in the USA, and with a rich and diverse background in the field of research and its applications, he is set to bring a fresh outlook to the organisation.

His strong leadership will be essential in ensuring that frontier research continues to play a central role in the future Horizon Europe framework programme and that the ERC makes good use of its autonomy guaranteed by the legislative texts. Strict adherence to the bottom-up principle, leaving full initiative to researchers when submitting their projects, and using scientific quality aiming for excellence as the only criterion for the selection of proposals will remain the cornerstones of the ERC action.

We are confident that Professor Mauro Ferrari will provide the leadership needed when he takes office on 1 January 2020, and we are looking forward to very fruitful exchanges with him in the run up to this.

Biography of the ERC President Elect

European Commission press release

Background

The ERC President Designate was appointed by the European Commission, following a transparent recruitment process involving an independent Search Committee, as provided for in article 6(3) of the Council Decision 2013/743/EU. It also stipulates that the recruitment process and the candidate selected need the approval of the ERC Scientific Council. The Search Committee members were Mario Monti, Chair; Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin (Chairman of the board of the Nobel Foundation; Director of the Ludwig Institute at Uppsala University); Professor Jules A. Hoffmann (2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine; Chair of Integrative Biology, University of Strasbourg); Professor Alice Gast (President of Imperial College London); Professor Fabiola Gianotti (Director-General of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research); Professor Helga Nowotny (Professor emeritus of Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich; Former President of the ERC Scientific Council) and Professor Maciej Zylicz (President and Executive Director of the Foundation for Polish Science).

Professor Mauro Ferrari will become the fourth ERC President since the launch of the organisation. The founding President was Professor Fotis Kafatos (until 2010), after which Professor Helga Nowotny took office (until the end of 2013). She was succeeded by current President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon in January 2014, whose first mandate was prolonged until the end of 2019.

Mauro Ferrari will be based in Brussels. His term of office is for four years, renewable once for two more years.

The European Research Council, set up by the EU in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC has adopted an 'investigator-driven', 'bottom-up' approach, which allows researchers to identify new opportunities in any field of research. Scientific excellence is the sole selection criterion in its competitions.

To date, the ERC has funded over 9,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe.

With a budget of €1.86 billion for the year 2018, the overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 is over €13 billion - part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas is responsible.

The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council, and the implementing arm in Brussels is the ERC Executive Agency.