EC Task Force Considers European Research Council Reforms a Good Start

The European Research Council (ERC) set a series of reforms in motion two years ago to address concerns that its administrative structure was too divergent – that the managerial and scientific aspects of the organization weren’t effectively working together.  A scientist (currently Helga Nowotny) heads the Scientific Council, while the Executive Agency is staffed primarily by civil servants in Brussels.

A recent review of the ERC arrangements has noted that the Council functions much better than it used to, but there is still room for improvement (H/T ScienceInsider).  Some of these improvements have to do with the specifics of grant management, but the big concerns appear to be around the organization of the ERC (at least it seems that way on this side of the Atlantic).  In some ways, this is simply recommending moving forward with the recommendations of the initial review – strengthen the communications between the scientific and administrative leadership of the ERC by placing a strong scientific presence in Brussels (the President of the Scientific Council is currently in Vienna) and eliminating the Secretary General position that serves as liaison between the Council and the Agency.

As the ScienceInsider review notes, not everyone thinks the reforms go far enough, and would prefer an ERC more independent from the European Commission