On May 10, 2017 Austria celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the European Research Council (ERC) in Vienna in the presence of ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The festive program “Cultivating Talents - the next ERC Decade” organized by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and masterfully moderated by former ERC President and Chair of the ERA Council Forum Austria Helga Nowotny, took place in the “Haus der Europäischen Union”, and the celebration continued with a networking event in the “Börsensäle Wien” afterwards.
The program started with a welcome speech by Barbara Weitgruber, Director General for Scientific Research and International Relations of the BMWFW, followed by congratulations by Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director General for Research & Innovation, European Commission, Paul Rübig, Chair Science and Technology Options Assessment Unit, MEP, Henrietta Egerth, Managing Director, Austrian Research Promotion Agency, and Klement Tockner, President of the Austrian Science Fund.
Giulio Superti-Furga, ERC Scientific Council Member since January 2017, led a discussion round with ERC Grantees on the ERC effects and visions for the future, and Helga Nowotny spoke with Heinz Engl, Rector of the University of Vienna, Thomas Henzinger, President of IST Austria and Anton Zeilinger, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences about the view of ERC host institutions.
That the ERC is the most important and successful institution promoting research excellence in Europe is a common view. It has created a very positive impact on the attractiveness of Europe as research area, and has proven to be a catalyst for innovation and top scientific research. As such, we urge politicians from all members states and the European Union institutions to unequivocally support the ERC namely by increasing its budget in the next framework programme the FP9 and clearly endorsing its guiding principles of scientific merit and independence.
CeMM has also had the pleasure to host ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon in the morning of the celebration day. It was a great privilege to welcome Professor Bourguignon in the CeMM Brain Lounge and to engage the ERC President in discussions with ERC grantees and young scientists from CeMM and befriended institutes.
As ERC Scientific Council Member, Giulio Superti-Furga considers himself a spokesperson of- and for- good science and will continue discussions and an active dialogue with scientists and host institutions in Austria: “The ERC is a wonderful project for scientists by scientists and lives of the energy and input of the scientific community. The ERC will always be as good as we can imagine it to be.”