As consultations on the European Research Council conclude, universities in its 25 member states see it and the Seventh Framework Programme for research as new opportunities.
Jerzy Buzek, former Polish Prime Minister, MEP and FP7 rapporteur, told 300 university heads and stakeholders at a European University Association conference in Sweden: "The European Union is listening to universities."
EUA President Georg Winckler said it would offer "excellent support for outstanding investigative scientific research". The influence that industry will have is an area of concern. Michal Kleiber, Poland's Science Minister, said: "It would be in our interests to listen to industry, particularly if financial support is forthcoming."
Professor Winckler said he was "keen for the ERC to put universities and investigative research ahead of the interests of industry". He said that "the ERC could learn much from the National Science Foundation" and "should not be driven by national interests".