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Research and innovation
News article30 May 2018Directorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

High-level search committee to find the next president of the European Research Council

European Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas has today appointed seven experts to conduct the search for the next president of the European Research Council (ERC), the European Union institution spearheading fundamental advances at and beyond the 'frontier' of knowledge. The committee will be chaired by Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University in Milan. He is also a former European Commissioner and a former Prime Minister of Italy. 

The committee will make recommendations to the European Commission in time for the next ERC president to take up duties on 1 January 2020, as successor to the current president, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

As the ERC continues to strengthen the dynamic character, creativity and excellence of European ‘frontier’ research, the next ERC president will have a crucial role to play.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas said:

I am delighted that Mr Mario Monti has accepted my invitation to chair the search committee for the next ERC president. The ERC has become a powerhouse of science, and will be a key pillar in an even more ambitious research and innovation framework programme that will follow Horizon 2020. I am confident that Mr Monti and his distinguished group of people from European science and research can help us find the right person to lead the ERC to even greater success.

The search committee members are:

  • Chair Mario MONTI
  • Helga NOWOTNY, Professor emeritus of Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich, Former President of the ERC Scientific Council 
  • Fabiola GIANOTTI, Director-General of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research
  • Carl-Henrik HELDIN, Director of the Ludwig Institute at Uppsala University, Chairman of the board of the Nobel Foundation
  • Jules A. HOFFMANN, Chair of Integrative Biology, University of Strasbourg, 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine
  • Alice GAST, President of Imperial College London  
  • Maciej ZYLICZ, President and Executive Director of the Foundation for Polish Science


The ERC – the first pan-European funding body for frontier research – was set up in 2007 under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7, 2007-2013). The ERC is now part of the first pillar – 'Excellent Science' – of Horizon 2020, the successor framework programme for research and innovation.

The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. Under Horizon 2020, the ERC’s budget will increase to over €13 billion from €7.5 billion in FP7.

The procedure of appointment of the president of ERC is provided for in article 6(3) of the Council Decision 2013/743/EU. It calls for the president to be appointed by the Commission following a transparent recruitment process involving an independent dedicated search committee, for a term of maximum four years, which is renewable once. The recruitment process and the candidate selected will need the approval of the ERC Scientific Council. 


Publication date
30 May 2018
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation