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Brussels, 23rd June 2010

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn to mark European Research Council's 1000th grant during Munich visit

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will be in Munich tomorrow (24 June) to celebrate the European Research Council's (ERC) 1000th grant, awarded to German immunologist and paediatrician Professor Erika von Mutius. German Research Minister Annette Schavan and ERC President Professor Helga Nowotny will also take part in the ceremony at Professor von Mutius's host institution, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), at 10h00 CET. The ERC was launched three years ago by the European Commission to fund innovative “blue sky” research throughout Europe. After visiting the Max-Planck Gesellschaft in the afternoon, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will also sign a "Statement of Intent" with the seven leading inter-governmental research organisations which constitute EIROforum, pledging to work more closely together to develop the European Research Area.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Professor von Mutius is a fantastic role model for young women and I hope that many will follow her in dedicating their work and their talent to science. I am delighted to celebrate both her success and that of the European Research Council, which has come a very long way in a very short time and is delivering excellent results for science and for Europe. "

She added: "I am also very pleased to be signing with EIROforum a pledge to strengthen our cooperation. EIROforum members are all world leaders in research that can truly change our lives and our society. Each of them is a massive feature on Europe's scientific landscape. I want the Commission to work even more closely with them in the interests of European citizens and today we are signalling an important move in that direction."


European Research Council

The European Research Council (ERC) is the newest, pioneering component of the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme. The ERC has a total budget of € 7.5 billion (2007-2013).

Set up in 2007 by the European Commission, the ERC aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by supporting the very best, creative researchers of any nationality working, or moving to work, in Europe.

The ERC is open to any field of research and scientific excellence is the only selection criterion in its peer reviewed grant competitions. The ERC operates according to an "investigator-driven", or "bottom-up" approach and there are no thematic priorities.

The ERC funds both top senior scientists ("ERC Advanced Grants") and younger, emerging research leaders ("ERC Starting Grants").

There are two calls for proposals per year and the next call will be announced this summer (for "Starting Grants").

The ERC consists of a Scientific Council, its governing body, and an Executive Agency which implements the funding activities.

A press pack on “Celebrating 1000 innovative ideas” (including statistics and examples of projects) is available in Brussels and Munich and via the ERC website at:


EIROforum is a collaboration between seven European intergovernmental scientific research organisations.

EIROforum members are:

  • CERN - European Organisation for Nuclear Research

  • EFDA - European Fusion Development Agreement

  • EMBL - European Molecular Biology Laboratory

  • ESA - European Space Agency

  • ESO - European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere

  • ESRF - European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

  • ILL - Institut Laue-Langevin

As world leaders within their respective fields, the EIROforum member organisations constitute the vanguard of European science, enabling European scientists to engage in truly cutting-edge research and be competitive on a global scale. By combining international facilities and human resources, EIROforum exceeds the research potential of the individual organisations, achieving world-class scientific and technological excellence in interdisciplinary fields.

EIROforum encourages and facilitates the sharing of research results, innovation and technology transfer, and higher education. Its member organisations provide training possibilities for young scientists in an international environment with state-of-the-art equipment, and attract world-class scientists from overseas.

The European Commission already collaborates on a large scale with the individual members of EIROforum. The Commission has co-funded joint research (for instance work in CERN on the "Grid" networks for high-speed computing and the fusion programme in EFDA), and is exploring strategic synergies (for instance the development of a European space policy in conjunction with ESA).

Further information:

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