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Press Release No. 7 | 12 February 2007
The Launch of the European Research Council

Official Opening Conference in Berlin Organised by the DFG

The establishment of the European Research Council (ERC) marks the start of a new era in the funding of basic research in Europe. For the first time, the European Research Area has a funding body that promotes research in all scientific disciplines solely according to criteria of scientific quality. The start of the ERC will take place in Berlin: within the framework of Germany's EU Council Presidency, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will organise the launch conference, which will take place at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) on 27 and 28 February 2007. The conference will be opened by the German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel; the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Dr. Janez Potocnik; the Chair of the ERC Scientific Council, Professor Fotis Kafatos; Professor Matthias Kleiner, President of the DFG; and Dr. Angelika Niebler, Member of the European Parliament. The conference will be conducted in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the European Commission and research organisations of the "Alliance".

About 280 high-ranking scientists and researchers from over 30 countries are expected to attend the launch of the ERC to commemorate its establishment and discuss its strategic and programmatic objectives. Among the key topics to be discussed at the two-day conference are the questions of how the ERC can act as a driving force for innovative research in Europe in the future, and what contribution it can make to the development of a knowledge-based society and economy. Another issue high on the agenda will be how the ERC can position European research in the international context.

The DFG has played a crucial role in the creation of the ERC through its international activities. The funding principles followed by the DFG - of scientific excellence and competitive selection by independent peer review - will also determine the funding strategies of the ERC. Another factor that will be pivotal to the ERC's success is a fruitful cooperation between the ERC and national funding bodies.

Prior to the beginning of the conference, the European Commission will hold a press conference at the BBAW at noon on 27 February, which the Federal Minister for Education and Research, Dr. Annette Schavan, the European Commissioner for Science and Research, the leaders of the ERC and the President of the DFG will attend.

Further Information

Further information on the press conference and contact details for questions concerning the ERC can be found at

DFG contact for the ERC launch conference:

  • Dr. Achim Haag, International Affairs, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Tel.: +49 228 885-2460, E-mail: Achim.Haag@dfg.de