The President of the European Research Council (ERC), Mauro Ferrari, resigned on 7 April citing his dissatisfaction with the EU response to the coronavirus crisis. Ferrari proposed using the ERC for targeted funding related to the crisis. This would have been against the purpose and rules of the ERC, which is an instrument for bottom-up research.
EUA fully supports the ERC’s approach and considers the ERC’s instruments and strategy regarding the current crisis to be entirely in line with its role.
During the crisis, it is crucial to continue supporting curiosity-based research, as well as using the many targeted instruments at the disposal of the EU to meet the challenge. The European Commission has displayed an impressive effort in the research field. Between 30 January and late March, the Commission provided 50 million euros to coronavirus-related research projects. These projects cover a wide range of fields and disciplines and engage more than 20 different countries. Such a quick and coherent mobilisation of international, cooperative research would not have been possible anywhere else in the world. Moreover, the Innovative Medicines Initiative and the health-related calls from Horizon 2020 will mobilise much more funding. At the same time, the ERC continues to fund curiosity-based research that will serve as a knowledge base for our future and unveil discoveries about the universe and our societies. This all shows the vital role that European research funding plays in responding to current and future crises, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
EUA continues to stand for unity and cooperation at the European level as the only way forward in the current crisis.