The letter

This open letter will be sent after the petition is closed:

Open petition letter to
The President of The European Council, Charles Michel
The President of The European Parliament, David Maria Sassoli
The President of The European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Download French version

Your Excellencies Presidents Michel, Sassoli and von der Leyen

One of the greatest success stories of the EU in the last decade is the European Research Council (ERC). Thanks to its unique formula of independence from political intervention, bold research ideas, bottom-up approach, and a singular focus on excellence, ERC grants have become one of the most prestigious research grants in the world.

In light of the current European debate on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, there is significant reason to fear a cut across all areas of Horizon Europe, and we anticipate that this would also impact the ERC.

We, the signatories of this petition, call upon the Heads of States and Governments, to secure funding for the ERC in Horizon Europe, the next European framework programme for Research and Innovation.

Protecting and improving the ERC budget will secure continued investments in research that pushes the boundaries of
our knowledge and continues to strongly support Europe as a dynamic knowledge society.

The ERC is a major reason for Europe´s increasing strength in research.
The EU comprises 7% of the world’s population but produces 1/3 of the world’s high-quality scientific publications. It is therefore of paramount importance that this success story can continue to develop and increase its strength in Horizon Europe.

The ERC invests in top researchers in Europe, giving them the freedom to follow their scientific curiosity. Based on scientific excellence, the ERC supports research that is pushing the very frontiers of knowledge through competitive funding across all fields. Open to top talent worldwide, the ERC is a vital tool helping Europe to attract and retain the brightest minds, and to establish itself as a scientific powerhouse.

Many great ideas already exist which will not receive funding under current budget constraints. With increased funding, many more scientific breakthroughs are possible, with a high degree of certainty.

We recognize the ERC as the most important European instrument for financing frontier research – the very foundation of disruptive innovation. Thanks to the successes of the ERC, Europe is well positioned to remain a world leading economy, succeed in the European Green Deal and make substantive contributions to the resolution of global societal challenges.

This investment in ground-breaking research has already paid off.
It has led to countless breakthroughs, nurtured science-based industry and created a greater impetus for research-based spin-offs.

With this open petition letter, we urge the EU to protect the funding of the European Research Council in the long-term budget of the EU.

ERC Highlights

  • 75% of completed projects led to breakthroughs or major advances.
  • 7 Nobel Prizes, 4 Kavli Prizes, 4 Fields Medals, dozens of important prizes awarded to ERC-grantees.
  • Over 9,500 top researchers have been funded, with 2/3 of grantees under 40 years old.
  • Over 70,000 team members, mostly PhD students and post-docs, have been supported – training the next generation of excellent researchers
  • ERC research led to over 150,000 articles published, with more than 6,100 articles among the top 1% highly cited.
  • ERC projects have led to over 1,200 patent applications and over 100 new ventures.

Initial signatories in alphabetical order

Rector Jón Atli Benediktsson,  University of Iceland, Iceland

Rector Anne Borg,  Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Rector Sjur Baardsen,  Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway

Professor Sierd Cloetingh, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. President, Academia Europaea, Former President COST Association, Former Vice President ERC

Professor Ben L. Feringa, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2016, Member of the ERC Scientific Council

Rector Anne Husebekk, University of Tromsø, Norway

Professor Eystein Jansen, University of Bergen, Norway. Member of the ERC Scientific Council

Rector Klaus Mohn, University of Stavanger, Norway

Professor Edvard Moser, Norwegian University of Science and, Technology, Norway. Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 2014

Professor May-Britt Moser,  Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway.  Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 2014

Rector Jari Niemelä, University of Helsinki, Finland

Rector Dag Rune Olsen, University of Bergen, Norway

President Ole Petter Ottersen, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Rector Martin Polaschek, University of Graz, Austria

Rector Beate A. Schücking, University of Leipzig, Germany

Professor Nils Christian Stenseth, University of Oslo, Norway. Former Member of ERC Scientific Council

Rector Svein Stølen, University of Oslo, Norway

Rector Henrik C. Wegener, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson, Uppsala University, Sweden


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