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Accueil / Groupes de travail / Europe / Back to basics - putting excellence at the heart of European Research

Back to basics - putting excellence at the heart of European Research

le 2 May 2006

This talk has been given at the LSE (London School of Economics & Political Science), on April 25, by Janez POTOCNIK, the European Commissioner for Science and Research.

The full text, in which J. POTOCNIK presents his view of the European Research Council, is in the attached file. Here are three extracts.

At the heart of the European Research Council concept is the recognition that practising researchers are best placed to identify those exciting new opportunities and directions at the forefront of knowledge that will lead into the industries, markets, and broader social innovations of the future. The ERC approach is therefore wholly investigator-driven, or “bottom-up”, in nature. Instead of relying on the identification of political or thematic priorities, the focus is on supporting the highest quality research from all disciplines by funding individual teams in open competition at pan-European level, solely on the basis of excellence.


We are deliberately using the term “frontier research”, rather than “basic research” to describe the activities of the ERC. Frontier research is directed towards fundamental understanding, at the frontier of knowledge; it is not directly market-related.


Although the final figures will be determined by the formal inter-institutional agreement on FP7 later this year, our proposal is for an average amount per year of just over 1 billion euros. This will be committed in line with the substantial and progressive development we foresee for the ERC, so that the budget at its start in 2007 will be 300 million euros, and will expand to a figure of 1.7 billion euros in 2013.