European Research Council (ERC)

Statement by the President of the MPG regarding the successor to Mauro Ferrari

The European Research Council is the flagship of European research promotion with a global reach.

Its success is built on a stringent focus on excellence, scientific competition and openness to a wide range of topics. These principles are secured by its special organizational structure, which is headed by a Scientific Council that takes mainly strategic decisions according to scientific criteria, independently of political guidance. This has been anchored in the European legal texts by the member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission. As a result, the President of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council plays a particularly important role, and is responsible for securing the principles for the success of the European Research Council.

In the current situation, everything possible must be done to recruit an outstanding individual to lead the Scientific Council who can be a powerful advocate for the needs of European science. An appropriate selection procedure must be chosen that meets the standards of the scientific community.

The procedure used in the case of the successor to Mr Bourguignon is inadequate for recruiting an individual who is suited to such a prestigious position. Therefore, only a nomination procedure should be considered in which the selection criteria and processes are rendered entirely transparent. Such a procedure is possible within the existing regulatory framework. Here, in light of its importance, urgent attention should be paid to the views of the Scientific Council. Since the President of the Scientific Council is the chairman and cooperates closely with it, this committee must be involved in the selection of the nominated candidates, extensively and in good time.

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