EMBO scientists selected for ERC Scientific Council
Five EMBO Members and one EMBO Young Investigator have been appointed to the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC).
The European Commission announced a total of 22 leading scientists as the Council’s founding members on July 19, 2005. The EMBO scientists make up six of the seven life scientists to serve on the Council.
EMBO Members, Carl-Henrik Heldin, Fotis Kafatos,Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Leena Peltonen-Palotie, Rolf Zinkernagel and EMBO Young Investigator, Oscar Marin Parra join the Council’s eminent line-up.
Their role, alongside their fellow members from a range of other scientific and technological fields, will be to oversee the ERC’s scientific strategy and ensure that operations are run with strict adherence to scientific excellence. In practice, this means that the Council will be responsible for determining the scientific policies of the ERC and ensuring that the selection of research projects for funding is carried out via competitive peer review.
The 22 founding members of the Scientific Council were selected independently of the Commission by a panel of high-level scientists chaired by Chris Patten, current Chancellor of Oxford and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Universities in the UK. The aim was to establish an autonomous body that can operate independently of political or other external influences. This will be integral to the success of the ERC and to its acceptance amongst the scientific community.
The announcement of the Scientific Council was welcomed by EMBO, which has maintained a strong input into the ERC process since the early days of the debate. Most recently, in May 2005, EMBO submitted a list of 47 of its members to the panel selecting the Scientific Council. These names were put forward after initial consultation with the EMBO Council and further nominations by the EMBO membership. Three of the five EMBO Members appointed to the Scientific Council appeared on this list.
EMBO Executive Director, Frank Gannon, commented,
"The selection of the Scientific Council sends a very important message. The chosen scientists are of the calibre that we hoped for and will ensure that the ERC will make decisions based only on the quality of the scientific proposals. The commission and the Patten group have done science in Europe a good service. Now we hope that the level of funding will match the needs of frontier research."
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