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Research and innovation
News article9 October 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Commission appoints independent Search Committee and invites nominations and applications to fill the post of the next President of the European Research Council

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel today welcomes seven experts as members of the Search Committee for the next President of the European Research Council (ERC). The independent Search Committee will make recommendations to the Commission on the best candidates for this prestigious post on the basis of a consultation of the scientific community and an open call for applications.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

I am very pleased that Professor Helga Nowotny has accepted to chair the Search Committee for the next European Research Council President. I have faith that this Committee of high-level scientists will provide us with a well-considered shortlist of the very best candidates for this prominent role.

The Search Committee consists of seven highly respected personalities in European research: 

  • Prof. Helga NOWOTNY (Chair), Former President of the European Research Council 
  • Prof. Pearl DYKSTRA, Erasmus University Rotterdam 
  • Prof. Tamás FREUND, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Prof. Jiří FRIML, Institute of Science and Technology, Austria
  • Prof. Serge HAROCHE, Collège de France
  • Prof. Viola VOGEL, ETH Zürich
  • Prof. Fabio ZWIRNER, University of Padua,  Member of the ERC Scientific Council  

The Commission is now asking organisations and bodies’ representatives of the scientific and research community to nominate outstanding candidates for the ERC President through a consultation letter.

The Commission is hereby also inviting individual applications for the position of ERC President.

The ERC President should be an internationally renowned and respected scientist or scholar and is expected to be a prominent advocate of frontier research and an ambassador of European science within and beyond Europe.

The new ERC President is expected to be appointed by the end of the first quarter of 2021. The term of office is limited to four years, renewable once. No age limit applies. Applicants must be nationals of an EU Member State.

The deadline for both applications and nominations is 30 November 2020.  

For more information, including on how to apply, please see the Statement on the search process.

*The new deadline for applications and nominations (30 November) mentioned in this news alert was updated following an update of the Statement on the search process on 9 November 2020.


The Scientific Council, the governing body of the ERC, defines the ERC's scientific funding strategy and methodologies. It is composed of 22 members, all eminent scientists and scholars, who represent the scientific community in Europe. The ERC President chairs the Scientific Council, ensures its leadership and represents it in the world of science. The President is appointed by the European Commission following an independent and transparent search procedure agreed with the ERC Scientific Council, including a consultation of the scientific community.

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Publication date
9 October 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation