Strasbourg: 8 April 2020

The European Research Council (ERC) Scientific Council has made a clear statement on 8 April about the reasons that led to their unanimous vote of no-confidence in Mauro Ferrari as ERC President on 27 March.

Mauro Ferrari announced his resignation on April 7, three months after starting in his new position. Prof. Ferrari’s statement published by the Financial Times presenting his decision as having been triggered by the rejection by the ERC governing body of his proposal to allocate ERC resources for top-down funding of research related to COVID-19, contrasts the ERC SC statement.

ISE, the Initiative for Science in Europe, supports the ERC Science Council’s view that it is not for the ERC to engineer a quick response to this crisis. A move to top-down funding would be fundamentally at odds with the mission and the spirit of the organization. The ERC already funds projects related to coronaviruses; this recently published list illustrates the point that basic research is the best long term preparation for new challenges. In all of the research groups with a competence in virus research, including those funded by the ERC, researchers are working round the clock on SARS-Cov-2.

ISE strongly supports the values and mission of the ERC. More than ever now is its role for European research relevant to address global challenges. We praise the results achieved so far and are confident about ERC’s positive and long-lasting impact on Europe.

Contact: Professor Martin Andler, President of the Initiative for Science in Europe , [email protected]

o Full ISE statement
o ERC Scientific Council statement
o EU supported Coronavirus research and innovation
o The European Commission will now initiate an identification process to appoint a new ERC President in accordance with the provisions of the legal acts on Horizon 2020. In the meantime, one of the three ERC Vice-Presidents (Eveline Crone, Fabio Zwirner, Janet Thornton) will take over the President’s duties on an interim basis. [KoWi, 8.4.2020]

Source : Initiative for Science in Europe (ise)