A scathing article critising the generous grants allocated by the European Research Council (ERC) appeared in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Sunday (5 January), reviving a long-running debate in Italy over the poor state of the country's research.
Spain's parliament on Tuesday (7 January) narrowly confirmed Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez as premier for another term, paving the way for the country's first-ever coalition government since its return to democracy in the 1970s.
Separatists in Spain's Catalonia won regional elections yesterday (25 November) but failed to get a resounding mandate for a referendum on independence, which had threatened to pile political uncertainty on top of Spain's economic woes.
The European Research Council (ERC) received many applications in response to its first call for proposals. Among the 9,167 proposals received, a significant number came from outside the EU, says the ERC.
At the official launch of the European Research Council in Berlin, politicians have welcomed the announcement that EU-funded research will finally be based on excellence and independent decisions by scientists, without interference from politics.
Commissioners Jan Figel and Janez Poto?nik assure that both the future European Institute of Technology and the European Research Council will be scientifically free and independent from political influence.
Ján Figel urges three major higher education reforms in order for universities to deliver on innovation and competitiveness: professional management, EU standard for university qualifications and unity of the European university system.
The Commission's proposal on FP7 foresees the creation of an independent European Research Council (ERC) to boost European basic research. Dr. Helga Nowotny, a member of ERC's scientific council updated EURACTIV on the recent developments and the current state of play at the Council.
Forty-four European organisations representing several hundred thousand researchers in all scientific disciplines are calling on research ministers to establish a European Research Council (ERC) with a budget that corresponds to socio-economic expectations.