Europe Launches Its Own NSF

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  02 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5816, pp. 1205c
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5816.1205c

BERLIN—In what many describe as a fresh start for European science policy, hundreds of scientists and politicians celebrated the launch of Europe's new research funding agency here at a meeting on 27–28 February. Modeled on U.S. agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the European Research Council (ERC) will focus on funding basic research and rewarding proposals according only to their quality—characteristics that set it apart from the E.U.'s existing funding schemes. “This is a revolutionary development,” says Imperial College London biologist Fotis Kafatos, who chairs ERC's Scientific Council. He hopes ERC, whose annual budget is set to grow to €1.3 billion, will help retain Europe's top talent and lure back scientific stars working abroad.

Staff members at ERC's Brussels bureau are still working frantically to prepare for the expected flood of grant applications. The agency can handle up to 3000 proposals for the 200 grants it has available in 2007, says Vice President Helga Nowotny. “If it's twice that number, we'll have a problem,” she adds. This year's grants, worth €1.5 million on average, will go to young scientists; larger grants for senior researchers will become available in 2008.

Related Content

Navigate This Article