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14Mar 2017

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NKI and EU-LIFE call for an increased ERC budget

The European Research Council (ERC) is key to excellent basic research, the cornerstone of disruptive innovation. The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), together with 12 other European life-science research centers, united in the EU-LIFE alliance, urges politicians to unequivocally support the ERC by raising its budget in FP9 and endorsing its guiding principles. At present the innovation potential in Europe can't be fully exploited because of a lack of funding.


On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of ERC, EU-LIFE released a statement with the message that in only a decade, ERC has become a flagship for excellent scientific research in - and for - Europe which is key to innovation. Also according to the statement, the ERC plays a crucial role in supporting that research in Europe.

The ERC has proven very successful in attracting top researchers to Europe and in increasing the competitiveness of Europe's research at a global scale. The ERC allows the brightest scientists to perform research that sooner or later will pave the way to disruptive innovation from all scientific fields.

"Many great research ideas fully fitting ERC evaluation criteria are put on hold, simply because of the current ERC budget limits. In our experience more than 50% of excellent research projects don't receive funding because of this. With an increased ERC budget excellent research will further flourish in Europe, making it even more attractive for top researchers" says Jo Bury current Chair of EU-LIFE and Managing Director of VIB, the Life Sciences Research Institute in Flanders, Belgium. "We believe that basic research is of utmost importance to boost innovation, especially when it is coupled to professional technology transfer. The ERC Proof of Concept Grants are indispensable for the translation of disruptive innovation from basic research results".

"Europe needs a strong the ERC to achieve its goal of being a worldwide leader in innovation. Collectively, we need to ensure that the future ERC budget is increased to raise the positive impact of excellent research in Europe. We can state that more than a funding principle, the ERC proves to be a multiplier with increased visibility of the research in academia and beyond" says Marta Agostinho, EU-LIFE coordinator.

EU-LIFE institutes host currently 121 ERC grants running in 13 countries across Europe. The NKI currently hosts 12 ERC grants.

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