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Brussels, 25 January 2005

Preparatory work underway for a European Research Council

The first meeting will take place today of the Identification Committee convened by the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik to recommend the composition of the governing body of a future European Research Council. The Commissioner is keen to ensure that the European Research Council will remain scientifically independent, which is why he has asked Lord Patten, former European Commissioner for External Relations and current Chancellor of Oxford University, to chair a group of experienced and respected scientists to identify possible members of the governing body.

The members of the Identification Committee are:

  • Lord Patten, Chancellor of Oxford University
  • Prof. Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize-winner, Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen
  • Dr. Catherine Bréchignac, Director, Institut d’Optique, Université Paris Sud
  • Prof. Jüri Engelbrecht, Vice-president of the Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • Prof. Guido Martinotti, Facoltà di Sociologia Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

The establishment of the European Research Council will be included in the proposal for a Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development that the Commission will present in April 2005. A European Research Council will focus on basic investigator-driven research, in recognition of its importance for future innovation and economic growth. The Commission’s intention with the creation of such a mechanism is to focus on scientific excellence, identified by fellow scientists, rather than the Commission.

There will be a press point with the Commissioner and all members of the Identification Committee at 17.00, at the Berlaymont VIP corner.

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