European Research and Innovation Days
22 - 24 September 2020
11.00 - 20.00
Virtual Event
European Commission, Research and Innovation Directorate General
Cover image of European Research and Innovation Days

This year's virtual format will provide an opportunity to connect, take stock of research and innovation achievements in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and build on the EU’s response.



14:00 – 14:45 |  From world class science to world beating companies (Joint EIC-ERC session)
HUB 8 European Innovation Council
Moderated by Elsa PAPADOPOULOU, Legal & Policy Officer, European Innovation Council
Opening remarks: Jean-Eric PAQUET, Director-General, DG Research & Innovation


  • Mark FERGUSON, EIC Advisory Board Member
  • Kurt MEHLHORNERC Scientific Council Member
  • Filippo BOSCO, CEO Blusense Diagnostics, ERC Grantee
  • Tobias KIPPENBERG, Professor of Physics at EPFL and leads the Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurement
  • Daria MORHLY-ROSEN, SPARK Stanford

Europe is on the right track in the creation of excellence in science and innovation, however there is work to do in transforming world-class science into world-beating companies. This session will discuss how the European Innovation Council (EIC) can address the gap between research and deeptech-driven innovation at a pan-European level.

14:00 – 15:00 |  In conversation with ERCEA management
Moderated by Tony LOCKETT, Head of Unit for Communications, European Research Council


  • Jose LABASTIDA, Head of Unit, Support to the Scientific Council, European Research Council                           
  • Angela LIBERATORE, Head of Unit, Social Sciences and Humanities, European Research Council                         
  • Philippe CUPERS, Head of Unit, Life Sciences, European Research Council
  • Martin PENNY, Head of Unit, Physical Sciences and Engineering, European Research Council 

This informal networking session will be an opportunity to interact with representatives of the Scientific Department of the European Research Council Executive Agency. Conversation topics are expected to include the ERC’s grant schemes, the application and evaluation process, as well as preparations for the Horizon Europe programme.



16:00 – 16:45 | Frontier research to fight COVID-19 
Moderated by Magdalena SKIPPER, Editor-in-chief of the journal Nature

Speakers / ERC grantees:

  • Balpreet Singh AHLUWALIA, University of Tromso
  • Meike BARTELS, Free University and Medical Center Amsterdam (VU-VUmc)
  • Sunetra GUPTA, University of Oxford
  • Vincenzo CERULLO, University of Helsinki

16:00 – 17:00
HUB 4 Horizon Europe
ERC Scientific Council Member and Chair of the Scientific Council Working Group on Widening European Participation  
Tomas JUNGWIRTH speaks at the workshop entitled ‘Widening: learning from the past and creating the future’


09:00 - 09:45 | #EUFUNDED: Challenges and best practices of public engagement with research
Moderated by Tony LOCKETT, Head of Unit for Communications, European Research Council

Speakers / ERC grantees:

  • Kate MORRIS, Campus Engage National Coordinator, Irish Universities Association
  • Erik VAN SEBILLE, Utrecht University, Laureate of the ERC Public Engagement with Research Award, Press and Media Relations
  • Anna DAVIES, Trinity College Dublin, Laureate of the ERC Public Engagement with Research Award, Online and Social media
  • Konstantinos NIKOLOPOULOS, University of Birmingham, Laureate of the ERC Public Engagement with Research Award, Public Outreach

17:00 - 18:00 | NOBEL & KAVLI PRIZE LAUREATES on “Blue-sky research to prepare for an uncertain future”
Plenary co-organised by The Kavli Prize and the European Research Council
Nobel Prize & Kavli Prize laureates will discuss how curiosity-driven, blue sky science can help address major challenges we are facing and be prepared for an uncertain future in a post-COVID-19 world.
Moderated by Prof. Robbert DIJKGRAAF, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA. TV personality.
Introduction: Mariya GABRIEL, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth


  • Prof. Jennifer DOUDNA, Kavli Prize for Nanoscience 2018. Leading scientist in the “CRISPR revolution” and gene editing; named one of “Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People”. University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Sir Christopher PISSARIDES, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 2010. Leading labour market expert. London School of Economics; University of Cyprus. ERC grantee
  • Sir Peter RATCLIFFE, Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology 2019. Prominent in the discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. Oxford University; the Francis Crick Institute, London. ERC grantee
  • Prof. Ewine VAN DISHOECK, Kavli Prize for Astrophysics 2018. Pioneer of understanding the universe at the atomic level. University of Leiden, the Netherlands. ERC grantee.




09:45 - 10:30 | ERC of the future: Creating giant leaps for Mankind!
Moderated by Søren Barlebo RASMUSSEN, Partner, Mobilize Strategy Consulting
Organised by the ‘Friends of the ERC’ and Association for ERC grantees.

Speakers :

  • Jean Pierre BOURGUIGNON, ERC President
  • Dag Rune OLSEN, Rector of University of Bergen
  • Frede BLAABJERG, Professor at Aalborg University
  • Maria BLASCO, Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)
  • Axel CLEEREMANS, Director Neuroscience Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles, ERC grantee

This session will feature the “Friends of the European Research Council (ERC)” handing over of an open letter and 16 000+ signatures to EU representatives, a live discussion on the importance of fundamental research and the launching of the Association for ERC grantees. Organised by the ‘Friends of the ERC’ and Association for ERC grantees.

11:00 - 12:00 |  In conversation with the ERC’s Scientific Council
Moderated by Tony LOCKETT, Head of Unit for Communications, European Research Council


This informal networking session will be an opportunity to interact with the President of the European Research Council, Prof Jean Pierre BOURGUIGNON and one Vice-Presidents of the ERC’s Scientific Council, Prof Fabio ZWIRNER Conversation topics are expected to include the role of frontier research in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future challenges, preparations for the Horizon Europe programme and the current state of negotiations on the EU’s future budget.






Virtual exhibition

The ERC will showcase two ERC-funded projects in the virtual exhibition:

Pavillion 1, stand 13

Professor Alejandro A. FRANCO at the CNRS offers an interactive virtual reality (VR) for engaging students and general public with different battery technologies. This is the first time VR has been applied to this field. In this interactive game players choose a battery type to drive an electric vehicle to collect gifts placed in a virtual city or countryside within a limited time. Choice of battery and their lifespan is represented. The game is a unique way of raising awareness about different battery types. It also underscores the need for further research into Lithium Ion batteries used in electric vehicles to mitigate climate change. Prof Franco’s project looks at simulating the different steps along the manufacturing process of Lithium Ion batteries incorporating Artificial Intelligence for further optimization – with the eventual goal to decrease their cost and achieve higher performance. His ultimate goal is to improve batteries of the future.  

Virtual presentations:
23 September 16:30
24 September 11:30 and 16:30

Pavillion 2, stand 22

Professor Joël DORÉ  at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research will showcase a project geared to open a new era of individualized preventive care and novel gut ecology-based therapeutic approaches.

Virtual presentations:
23 September 15:30
24 September 12:30 and 15:30


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