ERC turns 15 - marking a new milestone

Topics: Events

Tags: ERC | Research

    28/02/2022 - 22:00
    France, Paris
    01/03/2022 - 00:45
    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

The European Research Council has reached another milestone on its journey from an embryonic idea to a fully-fledged research funding organisation. Created by the EU in February 2007, the ERC has come a long way since then, with over 10,000 bright minds supported across Europe. It’s time to put the spotlight on how the ERC was brought to life and what has been achieved so far. 

On the occasion of this anniversary and under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) holds an event on Monday 28 February - to the day fifteen years after the ERC’s inaugural event was held in Berlin.  

With an interesting line-up of speakers in Paris, the event will be open to all to follow online.

Click here for more information about the programme & registration for the event.

Time: Monday 28 February, 1 March 22.00-00.45

The event will feature interventions from the following (amongst many others): 

  • Frédérique VIDAL, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation;

  • Clément BEAUNE, French State Secretary for European Affairs; 

  • Antoine PETIT, CNRS CEO and Chairman; 

  • Maria LEPTIN, ERC President;

  • Jean-Pierre BOURGUIGNON; former ERC President; 

  • Eveline CRONE, ERC Vice-President;

  • Kurt MEHLHORN, ERC Scientific Council member;

  • Ugur SAHIN, ERC grantee and BioNTech founder

You can follow the online conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ERC15years, and also put questions to the speakers at the event using the YouTube chat.


The ERC embodies the excellence of European research and represents a decisive asset for exploratory research in all fields of science in Europe.

The results of the ERC's fifteen years of existence demonstrate the value of this high-level competition, which has helped European research reach the highest standards at the global level, making it attractive and competitive in a context of fierce scientific and technological competition.

The celebration of the ERC's fifteenth anniversary, organised in partnership with the ERC and the College de France, will be an opportunity to discuss the role of excellence in basic research, including within the framework of major European challenges, from societal aspects to disruptive innovation.  

The conference will be presented by Tony LOCKETT, Head of Unit for Communications, European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) 


 Opening talks

  • Frédérique VIDAL, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation

  • Antoine PETIT, CEO and Chairman, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

  • Thomas RÖMER, Chairman, Collège de France

  • Maria LEPTIN, President, European Research Council (ERC)


ERC: frontier science for the benefit of all

The recent pandemic context has demonstrated that long-term investment in exploratory research, the preservation of research freedom and the accumulation of knowledge guarantee the responsiveness of the scientific community for the benefit of society.

Conference facilitator: Jean-Pierre BOURGUIGNON, former President of the ERC

ERC testimony:

  • Uğur ŞAHIN, CEO, BioNTech


  • Maria Chiara CARROZZA, President, Italian National Research Council (CNR)

  • Matthias KLEINER, President, Leibniz Association

  • Rosa MENÉNDEZ LÓPEZ, President, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

  • Berthold NEIZERT, Head of the Department for Research Policy and External Relations, Max Planck Society

  • Antoine PETIT, President, CNRS

  • Otmar WIESTLER, President, Helmholtz Association


 From ERC to EIC: from pioneering research to market 

ERC Proof of Concept projects have proved to be successful with investors, demonstrating an impact of exploratory research. The new EIC Transition funding helps results from ERC Proof of Concept projects get closer to the market. 

Conference facilitator: Kurt MEHLHORN, ERC Scientific Council member 


  • Peter COWLEY, President Emeritus of European Business Angel Network (EBAN)

  • Dario POLLI, Politecnico di Milano



ERC: Humanities and social sciences for future Europe

Investment in exploratory research in Humanities and social sciences contributes to propel European society into the world of tomorrow.

Conference facilitator: Eveline CRONE, Vice-President of the ERC, responsible for the Social sciences and Humanities domain


  • Elisabetta CROCETTI, University of Bologna

  • François DEROCHE, Collège de France

  • Filip MATEJKA, Czech Academy of Sciences


Closing address

  • Maria LEPTIN, President of the ERC

  • Clément BEAUNE, French State Secretary for European Affairs