You are here

Press release | 23-01-2018

The European Research Council (ERC) will bring cutting-edge science to the forefront at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from 23 to 26 January in Davos, Switzerland. With this year's theme being "Creating a shared future in a fractured world", the ERC's President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, and eleven remarkable scientists and scholars will feed into the debate, via fourteen sessions.

The ERC takes part in the forum for the sixth time, to continue to shine a light on the pivotal role of European frontier research in innovation, in the economy and in the European competitiveness. ERC grantees will contribute with their insights and latest findings. It will also be an occasion to engage with a diverse audience - from high-level political figures, to business leaders, civil society representatives and the media.

Two Nobel laureates are also amongst the ERC speakers. One of them is Prof. Ben Feringa (Chemistry Prize 2016) who noted ahead of the summit "It is a great opportunity to convey the important message of science, what science means for the future of our population." 

The climate change theme will take centre stage, with the presence of ERC grantee Prof. Johan Rockström, a leading climate researcher. On the eve of the forum, he said "The ERC is a fundamental supporter of the frontier of science which is an evidence base required for us to navigate the future of humanity on Earth". What's more, the ERC will hold an "Ideas Lab" session, “Safeguarding our Planet’s Assets”, involving three scientists funded by the ERC: Professors Anne Magurran, Yadvinder Malhi and Maja Schlüter, bringing insights on biodiversity.

Two distinguished economists, both ERC grantees, are also speaking at Davos: Nobel Prize winner Prof. Sir Christopher Pissarides and Prof. Hélène Rey. The latter has just been awarded the Grand Prix de l'Economie 2017.

The European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, responsible for the Horizon 2020 programme (in which the ERC takes part), will participate in the debate on “From frontier research to innovation”, organised jointly by the ERC and WEF. Speakers also include Ben Feringa, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, ERC grantee Erika von Mutius, as well as two industry leaders

ERC Programme and Speakers at WEF 2018


Some highlights of the ERC programme:

  • Implementing Strategies for Inclusive Growth with Nobel laureate ERC grantee Sir Christopher Pissarides
    23 January
  • Safeguarding our Planet's Assets with the ERC: European Research Council IdeasLab session with ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and ERC grantees: Yadvinder Malhi, Anne Magurran, Maja Schlüter
    24 January
  • A journey of discovery with Ben Feringa: One-to-one interview session with Nobel laureate ERC grantee Ben Feringa
    24 January,  livestreamed
  • From Frontier Research to Innovation – debate with European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, ERC grantees Ben Feringa and Erika von Mutius, and industry leaders
    24 January
  • The State of the World with Nobel Laureates in Economics, including Nobel Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides
    25 January
  • A Narrative of Progress, with ERC grantee Johan Rockström
    26 January
  • A Code of Ethics for Science, with ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon
    26 January



The World Economic Forum (WEF), which has taken place annually since 1971, is an international platform for the discussion of pressing global issues. With the overarching goal to “improve the state of the world”, the forum gathers over 2,500 participants, bringing together political, business, scientific and civic society leaders from around the world.

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first 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. To date, the ERC has funded some 8,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and more than 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. With a budget of over €13 billion for the years 2014 to 2020, the ERC is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for which European Commissioner Carlos Moedas is responsible. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since January 2014 it has been chaired by ERC President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

The ERC attends WEF events (Davos and "summer Davos" in China) to promote the central role of science at the frontiers of knowledge in today's societies.