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Imperial College London researcher announced as Chairman of new ERC Scientific Council

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For immediate use
Monday 5 December 2005

The first Chairman of the Scientific Council of the new European Research Council (ERC) will be Professor Fotis Kafatos Opens in new window, it is announced today.

Professor Kafatos, who holds the chair in insect immunology and genomics at Imperial College London, will help prepare for the launch of the ERC at the end of 2006, and is expected to lead it until 2010.

Imperial's Fotis Kafatos, Chairman of the ERC's Scientific Council

Founded in response to the need for an organisation supporting investigator-initiated fundamental European research, the ERC will be a novel initiative in European science policy.

With a proposed budget of Euro1.5 billion per year, funded by the European Commission, it is designed to increase the competitiveness of European research and boost excellence in science, technology and the humanities. Professor Kafatos says:

The ERC is vital for European science. I and all other members of the Scientific Council are absolutely committed to creating an organisation that meets the highest aspirations of scientists and scholars across Europe.

The Scientific Council will have authority over all aspects of the ERCs scientific governance, including the development of scientific strategy and work programmes, peer review processes, project selection and funding, and communications. Professor Kafatos adds:

We are determined to seize this unique opportunity to build a new pan-European organisation dedicated to research excellence, thereby contributing to the culture and the competitiveness of Europe.

Professor Kafatos and two Vice-Chairs , Professor Helga Nowotny and Dr Daniel Estève, were elected through confidential electronic voting, by the 22 founding members of the Scientific Council.

For further information contact:

Abigail Smith
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701

Notes to Editors:

About the Chair and Vice-Chairs

Professor Fotis Kafatos holds the Chair of Insect Immunogenomics at Imperial College London. Born in Greece, he studied Biology in the USA and worked as Professor at Harvard for three decades, before serving two successful terms (1993-2005) as Director-General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). He also held several leading positions in universities and research establishments in Greece. He is a leading molecular biologist and works on malaria.

Professor Helga Nowotny is currently Chair of the EURAB (European Research Advisory Board); Fellow at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Vienna and Professor emeritus of Social Studies of Science at ETH Zurich. She has occupied several teaching and research positions in several leading European universities, specialising on the current transformation of the research system.

Dr Daniel Estève is currently Research Director in the Service de Physique de l'Etat Condensé at CEA Saclay. His main fields of research are superconductivity and mesoscopic physics in general. In particular, he has recently developed electronic circuits for the purpose of quantum computing, which earned him the Europhysics prize in 2004. He has long-standing collaborations with a number of universities in Europe.

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