Brussels, 18 Oct 2004
The high level expert group (HLEG) on 'Maximising the wider benefits of competitive basic research funding at European level' has started work on its report on the potential impacts of establishing a European Research Council (ERC). The report will be delivered to the European Commission in December.
The group was created following a decision by the Commission to investigate the probable merits of a European Research Council, particularly in terms of boosting excellence in basic research. Dr William Harris, Director-General of Science Foundation Ireland, will chair the group.
'Around the world we see increasing competition for talented researchers working in fundamental areas of knowledge,' said Dr Harris. 'The impact of their work on education, technology and competitiveness can be enormous, and it is going to be interesting to look in-depth at what a competitive funding process for basic research in Europe might do to affect the continent's own opportunities.'
The group's final report, along with the Commission's communication on 'science and technology, keys to the future of Europe', will form the basis for a detailed discussion, leading eventually to proposals for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) in early 2005.
Among the issues to be assessed by the group are: the benefits of attracting the best research teams in Europe; attracting this talent; integration between national and European research systems; researchers' propensity to innovate and commercialise their knowledge; the visibility of excellent teams to industry on a European scale.
The group brings together experts from academia, industry and research institutes from 13 EU Member States, as well as one from the US.
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